“Pharma Dives Feet First into the Digital Health World”
The above headline from the recent front-page story of Digital Health Business & Technology speaks to a rising trend of pharma joining forces with digital health. Pharma is recognizing that when it comes to connecting with patients, nobody does it better than digital health. At Curatio, where our mission statement is No Patient Alone, using technology to connect to patients is central to who we are. We provide a social platform specifically designed for life sciences to deliver personalized patient support, curated content and disease management programs, adherence tools, medication trackers, coaching and peer support. The trend of pharma partnering with or investing in digital health is continuing to take off, with no end in sight.
In the story, author Gabriel Perna details several, recent high-profile investments by pharma in digital health. In March, AstraZeneca took a $33 million stake in the digital health company Huma Therapeutics. The CEO of the digital platform, Dan Vahdat, explains the reason for the investment. “Historically, pharma is one of the biggest industries in the world, but they don’t have much connectivity to their end users. As soon as you make the drug, you sell it and know nothing about it. You’re not connected to the patients.”
We hear this, too, at Curatio. Our pharma clients want to be of value to their patients and provide support. But they have limited insights about their patient populations – what support they would appreciate, where they are in their journey and how to best help them. It’s about more than just providing a drug therapy or a medication reminder app or a digital pillbox. It’s about becoming a trusted partner in someone’s health journey and understanding their challenges, in real time. One of the things digital does best is helping to connect people and personalize experiences at scale. Finding respectful and compliant ways to share insights, or what we call real-time, real-world evidence, is critical to helping bridge the divide between patients and pharma. Other industries are using mainstream social platforms and digital applications to do this to some degree, but there hasn’t been a way for pharma and specialty pharma to do this in a privacy and regulatory compliant way. That’s why we built Curatio. To provide a platform that would enable any life sciences company to easily connect, support and engage with patients leveraging the best of social and digital media in a privacy and regulatory compliant way. Being able to provide our customers with real-time, real-world evidence means we can help them understand what their patient populations need right now.
In the Palms of their Hands
Meeting patients where they are means being on their phones – 64% of people use mobile search predominantly to find health information, treatment options, support and navigation. Mobile brings a sense of instantaneous response, just in time, and on demand help with the jobs the patient needs done. We always think of how we can take jobs off the to do list of our patients and customers. How do we use digital to make living with a health condition easier, more personalized? In part, that means being in the palm of their hands and using mobile, small screen experience to deliver immediate help, navigation and support. It also means leveraging AI and machine learning to understand where someone is in their journey and not only the jobs and support they need today, but predicting what they’ll need tomorrow.
The digital connection between pharma and patient advances healthcare. When you start delivering value and being there in the tough times, you build trust and participation. This trusted relationship evolves into one that is long-lasting and reciprocal, with patients getting involved with research, data sharing, and tracking because they feel a part of a community, a larger mission, and making it better for others. This has tremendous impact on everything from improving clinical trial diversity to R&D for new therapies to longitudinal tracking.
Pharma is joining forces with digital health because healthcare is evolving. There has been an industry shift in pharma. As we all know, it is not just about filling a prescription – it’s about understanding the day to day, the challenges of living with the condition, what would help make it better and delivering that in a personalized scalable way – all the while making life easier for patients, pharma and the entire ecosystem.
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