The move from a provider to consumer-dominated market system in healthcare has already begun and it looks set to accelerate as the pace of technological change increases further, empowering consumer choice. The recent news of Vertex’s success with Kayldeco, where social network communities in the patient population were successfully leveraged by non-profit and patient advocacy groups is a fantastic example of how the market has started to embrace the desire of patients to become involved in the treatment process. 

The question for the C-suite of these companies is becoming: how do we ensure that those who we recruit are able to engage patients on this level and lead the way for future change as opposed to those who will struggle with the pace of change?  


The answer from this is far from straightforward, but can be viewed like this:

1. The candidate must possess the ability to adapt their communication style to suit the audience/stakeholder

The evolution of the consumer voice in within healthcare has meant that patients and those around them will be involved in the production and development of new technologies and products like never before. Senior staff will need to not only understand how to leverage this to their advantage, but more importantly how to engage directly with these groups. An ability to explain complex medical and technological processes to audiences who do not come from a medical background will be essential. 

It must be remembered that often these groups are going through incredibly tough periods of their lives, so commanding a level of empathy is crucial to build bridges of trust. However, this quality cannot come at the expense of being able to communicate effectively with the regulatory and scientific community that will directly impact on any attempt to bring new products or services to market

2. Ability to influence and persuade without executive authority

When we look into a potential candidate’s background, one of the key skills we look for is the ability to lead and influence people with different backgrounds and interests. This is especially vital in the HealthTech industry where, as we’ve outlined recently in our piece on building senior teams, building and leading groups of highly talented individuals from widely different sectors is the key to succeeding in a highly competitive environment. Being able to motivate and persuade these disparate groups can be extremely challenging given the culture gap that often exists so any candidate must have an innate ability to inspire and appeal to all stakeholders

3. Perseverance and persistence

The rise of patient power over the next few years will fundamentally change the business model of the entire industry. To thrive in the midst of this shift, strong leadership from all senior staff will be needed. As the regulatory, technological and personal relationships between stakeholders change, the C-suite will have to be able to drive through their vision for the companies they work for. This will not only require a granular understanding of the nuances of these relationships and how to leverage them to meet business objectives, but also the perseverance and persistence to keep a steady course in rapidly changing environment

Patient power is just one of the emerging trends that are beginning to shape our burgeoning sector. Here at Odgers Berndtson, we provide businesses of all sizes the type of senior leaders who are not only aware of these emerging trends, but understand how to harness them in pursuit of results.  

Chris Hamilton

Chris is the Global Head of the Life Sciences Practice of Odgers Berndtson. He was previously a Partner in the Global Healthcare Practice where he led many of the most complex and challenging lead...



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