Patient Experience in CKD

AstraZeneca and Ashfield Excellence Academy

In 2021, AstraZeneca was preparing for their product Forxiga/Farxiga (dapagliflozin) to receive approval for use for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults with or without type-2 diabetes (T2D). They had a need to train their field sales teams on the new indication, including background on chronic kidney disease and its management. With this in mind, AstraZeneca developed a new training curriculum, with the support of Ashfield Excellence Academy, part of Ashfield Engage.

One key aspect of this training was to convey the patient experience in CKD. This was necessary in order to understand the patient pathways that might lead to treatment with Forxiga/Farxiga, but also more importantly to portray the human aspect of disease management. When dealing with clinical data, it is easy to see patients as numbers, but there was an eagerness to emphasize that each person treated is an individual with their own story to tell.

To do this, we created a series of eLearning modules to tell the story of two different fictional patients, who were ultimately treated with Forxiga/Farxiga. It was important to have examples that represented both patients with and without type 2 diabetes. The story of each patient was told across three parts, each with its own mini eLearning module—diagnosis, initial management, and specialist treatment. AstraZeneca recently adopted a microlearning learning management system, so it was crucial that the patients’ stories were told concisely, in no more than 10-minute modules.

All these modules were enhanced by the inclusion of short videos, embedded throughout. The videos were narrated from the perspective of the patient, talking the learner through their journey with CKD and, most importantly, how it has impacted their life. The videos were a creative way to allow the learners to have a more direct connection to the patient, to bring the stories to life, make them feel more real and to maximize empathy. Positive feedback on the curriculum was received from senior leaders and from learners themselves, many specifically referring to the potential for positive impact on patients.

Although the training was originally developed for the U.S., it has since been adopted in over 20 different countries around the world and has been completed by more than 3,000 different learners. Due to the success of this project, Ashfield Excellence Academy is taking a similar patient-centric approach for a new project with AstraZeneca, using the power of stories to highlight the impact that diseases and their treatments can have on patients.


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