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Digital Health: Why Should Innovators Care?

In my last blog, we explored the current state of digital health, and why I believe we are now on the cusp of realizing opportunities for everyone involved in the healthcare value chain. In this blog, I will explore the value of digital health for those who develop and manufacture technologies that serve patients: the innovators.

As the days of blockbuster drugs and lucrative profit margins come to an end, innovators are seeing their industry realities become increasingly similar to their consumer products counterparts. The increasing need to drive demand, improve forecasts, minimize inventory, maximize capacity, establish optimum pricing – or in other words, maximize efficiencies and minimize costs – have become commonplace. This reality puts a premium on customer information, one that goes beyond the basic demographic, prescription, or claims information that is currently available. Because of this, innovators will have no choice but to play an active role in developing, funding, or otherwise investing in digital health solutions.

Most every innovator has invested in some sort of digital solution regarding their products. The vast majority have focused on passive patient or physician education. This aspect of digital health will remain a critical element. However, the idea of passively providing data as a reference for those who might be interested will need to be reassessed. As the number of patients outpaces the number of physicians, innovators will have even less time with providers. Innovators will need to make sure that their target community is aware and knowledgeable of the treatments they provide, which will ensure that their therapies are included in patient and provider discussions.

But digital health solutions promise to provide innovators much more than a means for active information dissemination or education. Information flow must be multi-directional for the true value of digital health solutions to be realized. Information from providers and patients about their therapy’s effectiveness or side effects, or those of other existing therapies, promise to provide greater insights into treatment quality and overall health outcomes. An innovator can then use this data in multiple ways, such as patient responsiveness insights for clinical or post-clinical analysis, large patient data set analysis, physician analysis and perspective, and even patient-defined quality of life measures that may provide information beyond the endpoints established during clinical trials.

This opportunity to garner additional patient and provider insights and greater patient engagement can have critical business implications. For example, real-world analysis of existing therapies can help an innovator better assess the market value opportunity for their pipeline technologies, and provide clinical trial design insights into quality of life metrics that may be otherwise excluded. This information can also empower an innovator to be creative in negotiating for formulary placement, or when defending a formulary position. In essence, this patient and provider contextual data could drive an innovator’s ongoing investment decisions, removing some of the business guesswork from the equation.

In my next blog, I’ll explore some of these ideas using detailed examples, along with reasons why others in the value chain will also benefit.

Tags: Digital Engagement, Services