Case Studies

Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking – Patient Engagment Strategy

The Challenge

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry, represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). With a €3.3 billion budget for the period 2014-2024, IMI is the world’s biggest public-private partnership (PPP) in the life sciences.  Evidence at national and European levels has shown that when patient advocacy groups are involved from the outset of setting a research agenda and scoping a medical innovation project, performance improves both in terms of translatability of the results into market uptake as well as the processes for the research to meet the scientific excellence as well as societal impact criteria.  However, the IMI has found that many of the grant recipients were not involving patients in a meaningful way in the funded projects.

The Solution

Third-i was invited to work with the IMI-JU’s patient engagement and communications team to find a workable solution after they had already amassed significant statistical evidence the patients were not being meaningfully involved in funded projects.

Our solution:

  1. Identified specific stages of the medical innovation process in which patients could have meaningful engagement;
  2. Resulted in the development and distribution of an Advice to Patient toolkit targeting patient advocacy organisations to educate and empower them to become more engaged in IMI-JU-funded projects;
  3. Included perspectives from leading investigators and industry leaders which conveyed their support for meaningful patient involvement;
  4. Provided project investigators with specific advice and guidelines to ensure they would proactively involve patients in a meaningful way at each of the key stages.

We held a key messaging workshop for the internal IMI-JU leadership team to describe the benefits of meaningful patient engagement and delivered a key messaging document as a result. The resulting Advice to Patients toolkit is an evidence-based, stakeholder-driven set of materials outlining exactly how patient organisations can be involved at each step of the process.  This key element provides patient organisations with a step-by-step approach, empowering them to take a more proactive stance in applying to be involved with a consortium.

In addition to developing the toolkit, we provided counsel to IMI-JU’s communications team on how to position the toolkit internally and to the Board of Directors.

The Impact

The strategy was adopted and enthusiastically supported by the IMI-JU’s leadership team and Board of Directors.  A patient’s guide was added to the IMI-JU’s website, utilizing key messages developed by Third-i.  The Advice to Patient toolkit is now included as part of every Call for Proposals to encourage more meaningful patient involvement.