Like many organizations across the world, the Bath Institute for Rheumatic Disease (BIRD) was forced to adjust its approach to patient engagement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Kingdom-based patient organization quickly pivoted from organizing in-person patient gatherings to expanding its virtual offerings, including a podcast series and targeted social media advertising campaigns, to reach people living with psoriatic arthritis and their caregivers in their homes.
This revamped approach saw great initial success and served as the inspiration for the organization's application to Amgen's UPLIFT Innovation Challenge, an initiative launched in partnership with the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA). The goal of the initiative was to encourage patient organizations to develop actionable solutions for challenges faced by the psoriatic disease community and their healthcare providers, as identified by the UPLIFT survey.
With over 22 applications received from patient organizations around the globe, BIRD was selected to receive a one-time grant of $25,000 to bring their solution, "Digital Engagement for PsA Patients and Families," to the psoriatic disease community.
BIRD's proposed solution will use patient feedback to develop clinician-led webinars and create refreshed advertising to drive patients to their podcast series. "By deepening patient knowledge, we aim to change expectations around treatments and outcomes to boost patients' confidence in asking questions to the healthcare professionals who join the webinars," said Celia Mead, director of BIRD.
The webinars will include insights from patients in advance to ensure sessions cover information that is most meaningful to them and that patients are ready and confident to interact. With many people in the psoriatic disease community still not attending doctor appointments in person or waiting longer, accessibility was also key. "We want to make these webinars accessible so that during the sessions, patients, families and caregivers will be able to ask questions to better understand their condition," Mead continued.
Psoriatic arthritis patients continue to face challenges in managing and communicating the full impact of their disease with their healthcare providers – this has only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. "We have always looked for ways to deepen patients' knowledge of their conditions, but the pandemic has caused some individuals to feel increasingly anxious and isolated," Mead explained.
BIRD's virtual webinars and digital advertising campaign aim to address these challenges directly and provide patients with a way to improve their standard of care, without leaving the comfort of their homes.
"We appreciate that companies like Amgen are launching these types of initiatives because it allows our organization to be creative and innovative in our ideas, rather than prescriptive, to ultimately support patients," Mead said.
Visit BIRD's website at www.birdbath.org.uk to learn how you can get involved.