Universal Patient Language wins international award
Open-source patient communications resource recognized
A Toronto-based service design firm has teamed with a global biopharmaceutical company to capture a prestigious international award. Bridgeable and Bristol-Myers Squibb won top North American honours in the 2017 eyeforpharma competition. Their collaborative Universal Patient Language (UPL) project was cited in the most valuable patient initiative or service category.
This award goes annually to an innovative project designed to deliver tangible patient improvements, both in the long and short term. Demonstrating real understanding for patient requirements prior to implementation, the winning project will have been managed to an outstanding level and will have made an exceptionally positive impact on its intended customer.
About the Universal Patient Language
The Universal Patient Language (UPL) is an organizational capability and set of practical resources that help communicate complex topics to patients. It was developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) — with support from Bridgeable — to help patients facing serious disease better understand treatment options. The story of UPL presents a unique approach to patient experience. It was designed specifically to help present information to patients in a way that is fair, accurate, understandable, and which addresses patients’ needs.
The UPL has been applied to Bristol-Myers Squibb patient communications for every product the company has in market. The redesigned UPL deliverables include drug safety information, branded messaging, disease state education, clinical trial recruitment, and even call centre interactions. In developing these outputs, Bristol-Myers Squibb has engaged with numerous patients and caregivers, and over 100 healthcare providers, patient advocacy group representatives, communication experts, and other external stakeholders.
In 2016 Bridgeable supported Bristol-Myers Squibb in launching an open-source UPL capability, sharing it with any individual, company, or institution interested in improved patient communications. The first UPL resources and case studies are already publicly available on upl.org. In early May, a new and improved version will be launched with a new emphasis on helping practitioners apply the UPL to their own work. The hope is that if all industry players — from hospital systems to advocacy groups to clinicians to pharma — adopt a set of universal standards in patient communications, patients’ overall healthcare experiences will be improved.