Effectively Engage Beneficiaries

The people that would benefit from your technology will enable you to: understand the problem you're solving; validate the value of your technology; and shape development with the people that you'll be helping in mind.

Who curated this Module

Dr Maria Botcharova

  • Corporate Strategy Associate, RELX Group

  • Previously Senior life science specialist, L.E.K Consulting

  • Science Editor and Journalist




Identify who would prescribe the solution

This may be obvious from the nature of the disease (e.g., heart disease - cardiologist), however, the relative input of different clinicians may be unclear for diseases that impact multiple organs, or are hereditary (paediatrician may also be involved). 

The physician who treats the disease is typically the one who prescribes the drug and is ultimately the decision maker as to whether a drug is valuable to patients. This website provides a framework to help you work out who the right clinician would be. Other places to look include: Medscape, WebMD and Expertscape.



Identify who would administer the solution

Different health and care professionals have different rights when it comes to prescribing and administering solutions. This might be the clinician, or a nurse pharmacist or other health professional. The beneficiary who administers a solution can offer valuable information on the most frequent pain points of patients receiving currently available solutions, and where a new solution might fit into the treatment paradigm. These individuals may also have important information on compliance because they witness it first-hand. 


Identify who would receive the solution

Speaking to Patients - should you do it?

Some insights can be gained from interviewing patients, particularly surrounding their current approach to taking medications, their compliance, and the side effects or pains that cause them the greatest discomfort or inconvenience. 


However, there are a number of points to be mindful of:

  • Ethical and privacy issues surrounding asking patients about their disease, pain or discomfort

  • Patients do not necessarily have a good understanding of the science underlying a pharmaceutical and may not be able to comment on the likely properties and value of your solution based on its underlying properties

  • It is the clinician who ultimately prescribes the drug and many patients rely on their clinician's expertise to give them the best support - they are not the final decision maker. 

Expert Advice

Clinicians are typically the most appropriate and informative stakeholder to approach about understanding the disease space, and the value of your developmental product. 


Find prescribers and administers

Find a Specialist

There are several places to look to find the right people to talk to. Good sources include:

In the UK, you can also identify and reach out to clinicians through:

Expert Advice

Be aware that it might not be in the clinicians interests to advise pro bono. It won’t support their career, could lead to association with failure, and is not currently factored into the Research Excellence Framework (REF) by which they are measured. Standard day rates for a clinical consultant might range from £800-1200 depending on seniority and experience.


Interview a prescriber and/or administer

Understand the proportion of patients that might be prescribed your technology

Ensure that you are using your time with prescriber/administer effectively by defining the key questions before you meet. Here are some examples that will support you to provide the data supporting the validation/invalidation of your innovation:

  • How many patients a week do you see with this disease/that would require use of this device (can help with population estimates if the number of physicians is known)

  • When a patient comes in, what options might you suggest prescribe as a treatment for them?

  • How do you decide which treatment to suggest / prescribe? (e.g., what measurements do you take to make this decision? When testing the drug to demonstrate that it works, it is important to be aware of what markers physicians use to determine how severe the disease is)

  • Are the current treatments satisfactory? What are the remaining needs?

  • What side effects do patients currently experience on these treatments?

  • How do they impact drug usage?

  • If the molecule has (please complete) chemical properties, and becomes a drug with (please complete) clinical properties (e.g., improves certain biomarkers of the disease in a specified way), how likely would you be to prescribe it to your patients?

  • How would it compare to current treatments?

  • What proportion of your patients would you prescribe it to?

  • What characteristics would define these patients (e.g., failed use of all other treatments, people with weight / activity level / heart rate / age over / under a certain amount, etc.)

  • What side effects do you think patients would tolerate given this information? 

This project was joint-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Brain Injury MedTech Co-operative based at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University of Cambridge. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

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