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Amplify clinical outcomes with evidenced digital and pharmaceutical interventions paired together

How do new technologies and DTx improve the quality and affordability of healthcare?

Resource pressures on healthcare systems mean that patients with long term conditions typically only see their physician for around 15 minutes a year, making patient-self management an increasingly vital part of healthcare delivery.

Digital technologies are playing a critical role in patient empowerment, while enabling clinicians to connect with large populations of patients on a far more regular basis. In this context, the digital experience can help patients and clinicians rediscover their human connection, and drive significant resource efficiencies.

Digital tools become even more powerful when they are driving tangible, evidenced outcome improvements. For us, the ideal ‘digital therapeutic’ intervention is the smallest nudge with the biggest clinical impact. For example, making sure an asthma patient receives proper, guided inhaler technique training when they are prescribed a new device can have a massive impact on medication waste reduction.

Why should big pharma pay more attention to digital therapeutics?

DTx is becoming extremely attractive to health systems and payors, as they are able to drive outcomes which are comparable to leading medications. By packaging evidenced digital and pharmaceutical interventions together, clinical outcomes can only be amplified. This presents a massive opportunity for pharma to differentiate themselves in the market by developing strategic DTx ‘channel partnerships’. It also presents a challenge for pharma, in that DTx can often drive comparable outcomes at far lower cost point.

Even if a ‘channel partnership’ is not of interest to a particular pharma team, the real-world data produced by the DTx will certainly drive value from a value communications and R&D perspective. For example, well-placed real world data partnerships can have a transformational effect on the market share of a drug therapy, and potentially accelerate clinical trials through targeted recruitment, via the app, of patients with rare phenotypes.

What are the key success factors of a pharma-digital health partnership?

Most pharma-DTx partnerships are unsuccessful, with very limited user adoption and engagement. There are several reasons for this, including;

  • Lack of patient-centricity: Pharma has aligned the DTx product to their therapy, at the expense of wider patient-centric disease management features.
  • Go to market strategy: Pharma has a finely honed engine for driving drug commercialization, but distributing a digital product and driving adoption requires a completely different approach.
  • Value misalignment: Many pharma brand teams focus on DTx as a marketing tool rather than a true therapeutic intervention, making it hard to justify the significant long term investment required to bring a DTx market to market safely and effectively.

In order to be successful, a pharma-DTx partnership should articulate clear objectives, roles and responsibilities from the start. Put simply, each party should focus on their strengths. For example;

  • Pharma should be clear about their core value drivers: Is the DTx a marketing tool, a means of generating real world data or full channel partner?
  • The DTx provider should be trusted to produce a compelling product which serves clinicians and patients as a priority, not a drug therapy.
  • Both parties should build a dedicated team for distribution rather than relying on established pharma sales channels.

Read more on The UNLIMITED multi-morbidity Digital Hub

We are glad to partner with my mhealth on our 2nd Annual Digital Therapeutics and Pharma Summit on 14th – 15th September 2022 in Vienna

my mhealth is a UK-based market leader in evidenced digital therapeutics (DTx), with a large and growing user base. We cover a range of co-morbidities, including COPD, asthma, heart disease and diabetes within a single app environment.

While our focus is on delivering measurable and impactful outcomes in a clinical setting, we also offer real-world data and channel partnerships to pharmaceutical companies. For example, our unique longitudinal dataset significantly accelerates patient identification for clinical trials and supports value communications for commercialised therapies. We can also host companion digital products, connected devices and drug-specific algorithms within our platform.

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