Four Takeaways from Our EyeforPharma Panel Discussion
By Omri Shor
Founder & CEO at Medisafe® Medication Adherence Platform
Last week I had the opportunity to take part in an Eye for Pharma panel discussion about the rise of digital health in the pharma industry, called Digital Companions – The Future of Holistic Patient Support. This discussion with panelists from Otsuka, Accenture and Ferring Pharmaceuticals focused on several key issues and areas of opportunity to improve patient support, including the use of new digital tools to help drive patient engagement as a result of the pandemic.
During the past few years we’ve seen significant support from the pharma industry to embrace the digital age and evaluate new ways to reach patients and improve medication management. As a result of COVID-19, we’ve seen increased adoption of digital tools to help maintain patient connections and serve as a potential lifeline among patients, providers, and caregivers. Below are some of my key observations from this discussion.
Key Takeaway #1 – Collaboration Yields Continual Improvement
It’s essential that all aspects of the healthcare industry must find ways to work together to deliver value. This includes value for patients, providers, payers, and the industry overall. Digital innovations have helped to drive advancements, creating a domino effect in reevaluating processes and programs. There is now are greater emphasis to ensure efforts deliver a greater value and really help to move the needle in improving patient care.
Key Takeaway #2 – Patient Treatment Happens in the Context of Life
Whitney Baldwin from Accenture pointed out that “patients evaluate treatment in the context of their greater life.” This is an important point to remember, as treatment is traditionally viewed through a provider setting or laboratory.
But as digital companions become more commonplace, we have to remember that patient’s treatments are part of their 24/7 life. Tech advances like Uber or Netflix put the consumer at the center and individuals have grown accustomed to that level of control.
The healthcare industry is now working to catch up to this notion and is seeing early success with digital companions that help make treatment more accessible in patient’s full lives.
Key Takeaway #3 – Take a Holistic Approach
Desiree Priestly of Otsuka so aptly recognized that the pandemic has brought a greater awareness that “we are all patients, we’re all consumers, and we’re all caregivers.” Taking that lens in our approach to healthcare platforms can only help to improve the experience and outcomes for all.
“We are all patients, we’re all consumers, and we’re all caregivers.” – Desiree Priestly, Otsuka
Digital health provides an on-demand option that fits into patients’ lives more easily and in a more consumer-friendly format. As a result, we’re seeing a greater user satisfaction rate and greater adoption by putting the patient at the center and creating experiences that are tailored to their lives.
Key Takeaway # 4 – It’s a Human Condition
Whether in person, over the phone, or through digital engagement, human connections have a positive impact on patient outcomes. Haider Alleg at Ferring Pharmaceuticals explained that the pandemic has revealed our yearning for connections with others and the impact it can have on our outlook.
That replicates itself in healthcare settings where a positive experience and connection to others has shown marked improvement in patient conditions. By helping patients stay connected, engaged, and feel valued, even if through digital means, we can help them stay consistent on treatment and ultimately create better outcomes for all.
We’ve seen the disruption created both by innovation and uncertain circumstances such as COVID19. Both have shown that traditional care models no longer meet the needs of patients. It’s time to re-evaluate the ways in which we support patients throughout their journey, moving beyond adherence as the solitary focus. As we look ahead, it’s clear that successful treatment must be coupled with personalized support that is delivered whenever and wherever necessary.