Healthcare Now – What’s Next in the Americas

With the new year underway, we are excited and encouraged by the new COVID-19 vaccines being deployed to healthcare workers and high-risk individuals in the United States and Canada.

Here in the United States, each of our states are receiving their allocated commitments of vaccinations and planning is underway for broad-scale deployment of the vaccine. With Wave 1, which began at the end of 2020, we’ve already seen the first round of vaccines being successfully administered to frontline healthcare professionals.

It’s absolutely incredible to see the speed of innovation in the US, Canada and Latin America. Innovation in technology, vaccine development and deployment and business and clinical resiliency in times of crisis. We are proud of the work we’ve done at Cisco to help empower and enable our healthcare organizations, and we know there is still so much to work to be done.

As we look forward into 2021, there is great opportunity around how technology can help enable the administration of the vaccine. As the vaccine is deployed to the wider population, we look to technology to help connect citizens and patients with the resources and knowledge they need to understand when and how they will receive the vaccine. To help make sure patients receive both of the needed vaccination shots, healthcare organizations should look to outbound call automation and virtual scheduling.

For healthcare organizations experiencing a surge in demand for the vaccination, drive up or mobile distribution sites allow for greater volumes of care. It’s critical these temporary sites outside of the healthcare facility remain connected to the network, are efficient with mobile experience, digital check-in and patient registration, and enable clinicians to securely communicate between one and other.

And above all, security, privacy and compliance need to remain top of mind throughout the vaccine distribution phases. From physical security and environmental monitoring for networks and endpoints to a holistic cybersecurity strategy, healthcare organizations need to minimize waste of critical vaccine supply and will be held accountable for doing so.

Challenges and opportunities

Outside of vaccine administration, the key challenges we’re seeing across healthcare organizations in the Americas deal with combating clinician burnout and shortage.

In the United States alone, it’s estimated that there will be a shortage of 124,000 physicians by 2025. And, this statistic is pre-pandemic, which means we’re likely facing even greater shortages of providers due to the incredible stress that the pandemic has placed on them.

One way that we can help fight clinician burnout is through technology. Technology that helps create better work environments for providers, more efficient workflows, and helps minimize exposure within the care facility.

Healthcare organizations across the Americas region have prioritized key investments in technology to do just that.

Telehealth remains a priority for healthcare organizations to help maintain continuity of care without risking unnecessary exposure for patients and clinicians. Remote patient observation, where a clinician can view and monitor a patient from outside of the hospital room, helps reduce wasted personal protective equipment and can help save clinicians needed time.

Technology systems that help streamline clinician workflow are also critical for today’s healthcare organizations. Tools that are integrated within Electronic Health Record systems and clinician communication applications are key, as well as virtual triage, self-service applications for patients and chatbots that help alleviate extra pressure on care teams during surges in demand.

Looking ahead

There are many trends driving change in healthcare. As we look forward into the next 12-24 months, we will see increased priority placed on the following:

A growing and pervasive need for behavioral and mental health services and integrating these services into all departments of medicine.

  • AI and machine learning will be used to drive automation and increased accuracy in many areas of the patient and clinician journeys.
  • Security threats and breaches threaten financial stability of healthcare organizations. Continued investment into holistic cybersecurity strategies will be of key importance.
  • Care at home will be a new business normal and drive the adoption of personal-accountability for healthcare and monitoring. This will also drive the change in clinical care delivery from outpatient and ambulatory settings to remote monitoring and in-home services.
  • Medical device manufacturers will be part of the integrated care workflow, increasing partnerships and sharing of data. Data and analytics will become a critical component in care delivery and our healthcare system.
  • Telehealth will continue to be adopted.
  • Government funding and mandates will grow under the new administration in the US, increasing the need for data collection, analytics and reporting.

With the new year upon us, I want to take the opportunity to thank those who have worked tirelessly in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. To our healthcare workers and frontline workers, we say thank you. We are here for you and will continue to provide needed support in the months to come.

Learn more and visit our latest infographic on powering an inclusive recovery through efficient vaccine administration.

Fine-tuning telehealth, addressing mental health take precedence for providers in 2021


As 2020 draws to a close, healthcare providers are strategizing for the new year and the new normal. Providers will need to retool their telehealth efforts and prepare to meet a burgeoning mental crisis, among other issues.

How Webex Uses Patient and Provider Insight to Improve Virtual Care Delivery

Follow along with our blog series #HealthcareNow and #PublicSectorNow, where we’ll address healthcare innovation around the world and how to maintain business continuity in today’s health climate. 

In the past few months, we’ve seen huge shifts in how people are working. This naturally extends to the healthcare industry, where care delivery continues to be a priority, even amidst social distancing and shifts in the workplace.

Earlier this spring, the Webex UX Research team conducted an extensive qualitative study with healthcare providers and patients who use telehealth services. The study unearthed the challenges, opportunities and patterns of behavior when using video in healthcare settings. It also served as the foundation for developing healthcare personas, among the first industry-specific personas to be created and used at Webex.

In the world of product development, personas are a common tool to help surface deep research findings and build alignment across multiple teams. While personas used to be synonymous with stereotypes, the practice has transitioned towards more behavioral, “psychographic” personas. The Webex UX Research team builds personas directly from qualitative research and these artifacts are referenced across the entire product organization to build more clinically relevant voice and video tools.

The initial research study was made up of one-hour interviews (with each participant being interviewed over Webex Meetings), which produced an enormous amount of data. By identifying patterns across this massive amount of data, we developed personas for both providers and patients.

Instead of devolving into typical demographics, the personas center on specific patterns of behaviors and beliefs to understand the telemedicine landscape. For example, healthcare providers tended to be time-strapped and juggled multiple technology platforms. They often used video to help alleviate a patient’s concern, and their main priority was providing relief to patients. Providers chose very easy to use video platforms, ideally ones that their patients had used before and didn’t require downloads. Providers tended to complain about technical shortcomings during telehealth appointments, like pixelation or poor audio, making it difficult to consult with patients.

Patients, on the other hand, demonstrated different beliefs and behavior. They often expressed trepidation prior to using telemedicine services for the first time and were more likely than doctors to describe themselves as not very tech savvy. However, after their initial video appointment, patients had an overwhelmingly positive view of telemedicine. This was especially true for people who had encountered difficulties in the past to make it to an in-person appointment due to factors like illness or injury, traffic or distance, and extreme weather events.

These personas have been used across the Webex organization to help our own teams reach alignment on the needs of this critical industry, during an especially critical time. The healthcare personas provided an essential window into our user’s world, building empathy and keeping their needs front and center. With this data, our teams have been able to continue to make improvements in our Webex technology, helping to provide a better virtual care experience for patients and providers alike.

Learn more about how Cisco is expanding access to care through secure collaboration tools

We’d love to hear what you think. Comment below and stay tuned for the next blog in our #HealthcareNow series. 

ImmunoGen Signs an Agreement with Huadong to Develop & Commercialize Mirvetuximab Soravtansine in Greater China


  • ImmunoGen to receive $40M up front, ~$265M as development, regulatory & commercial milestones and is eligible to receive royalties on sales of mirvetuximab in Greater China and will retain all rights to mirvetuximab in the US & ROW
  • The collaboration accelerates the development path for mirvetuximab in Greater China and expands Huadong’s oncology portfolio with innovative ADC and combines ImmunoGen’s lead clinical program with Huadong’s regional oncology expertise
  • Mirvetuximab soravtansine (IMGN853) is a first-in-class ADC comprising a FRα binding antibody, cleavable linker & the maytansinoid DM4 to kill the targeted cancer cells

Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: ImmunoGen | Image: PNGitem

The post ImmunoGen Signs an Agreement with Huadong to Develop & Commercialize Mirvetuximab Soravtansine in Greater China first appeared on PharmaShots.

GSK Signs an Agreement with Vir Biotechnology to Develop Solutions for Coronaviruses


  • GSK will make equity investment to gain access to Vir’s technology of $250M, priced at $37.73 (a 10% premium to closing share price on March 27, 2020). The equity investment and collaboration will complete at the same time & are conditional upon customary conditions including regulatory review by appropriate regulatory agencies under Hart-Scott-Rodino Act
  • The collaboration will focus on development of specific antibody candidates identified by Vir’s platforms (VIR-7831 and VIR-7832) which demonstrated high affinity for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and highly potent in neutralising SARS-CoV-2 in live virus-cellular assays. The companies plan to proceed directly into P-II clinical trial within next 3 to 5 mos.
  • Vir’s antibody platform has been used to identify and develop antibodies for pathogens including Ebola (mAb114, currently in use in the Democratic Republic of Congo), hepatitis B virus, influenza A, SARS-CoV-2, malaria, and others

Click here to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: GSK | Image: BGR

The post GSK Signs an Agreement with Vir Biotechnology to Develop Solutions for Coronaviruses first appeared on PharmaShots.

Pfizer Signs an Agreement with SpringWorks to Evaluate Nirogacestat + PF‐06863135 for R/R Multiple Myeloma


  • Pfizer to sponsor & conduct P-Ib/II study evaluating the safety, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of dual regimen and will assume costs of study & other expenses related to IP rights.  The companies will form a joint development committee to manage clinical study which is anticipated to commence in H1’21
  • The focus of the collaboration is to evaluate SpringWorks’ Nirogacestat + Pfizer’s PF‐06863135, in patients with r/r MM. Additionally, SpringWorks is currently conducting a global P-III DeFi trial to evaluate nirogacestat in adults with progressing desmoid tumors
  • Nirogacestat is investigational, oral, selective, small-molecule GSI in P-III while PF‐06863135 is anti-BCMA CD3 bispecific Ab (SC), being investigated in P-I study to treat r/r MM

Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: PRNewswire | Image: Solar Winds MSP

The post Pfizer Signs an Agreement with SpringWorks to Evaluate Nirogacestat + PF‐06863135 for R/R Multiple Myeloma first appeared on PharmaShots.

Georgia Department of Public Health: Keeping Doctors and Patients Connected

Follow along with our new blog series #HealthcareNow and #PublicSectorNow, where we’ll addresses healthcare innovation around the world and how to maintain business continuity in today’s health climate. 

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) needed a way to continue critical healthcare services without in-person visits when the pandemic hit. 

Like most healthcare organizations, they needed to pivot when stay at home orders and social distancing limited patients from coming into clinics and hospitals for preventative and chronic care. 

DPH had to rapidly select a web-based technology provider that would integrate seamlessly with their existing video conferencing solutions and Cisco solutions across infrastructure, scheduling, DX units and room kits. And, they needed security built into the platform to meet strict HIPAA requirements for patient privacyWebex was the answer.  

In just three months, DPH onboarded 1,200 telehealth providers to the Webex platform. Now, they have one of the most robust telehealth programs in the nation with over 1,000 connected endpoints, allowing patients to stay safe at home while maintaining access to needed medical care. 

One of the critical areas that is benefiting by the use of Webex is the Babies Can’t Wait (BCW) program. BCW is an early intervention program that offers a variety of coordinated services for infants and toddlers with special needs and their families. The BCW program is using Webex to: 

  • Conduct trainings and staff meetings
  • Administer eligibility evaluations
  • Provide ongoing occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy services
  • Provide special instruction services
  • Hold weekly state meetings and teletherapy provider support meetings

DPH is also able to offer patients over 50 additional telemedicine services, including dental, diabetes, infectious diseases, and pediatric care.  

“… We leveraged Webex to get those providers onboarded and trained to see patients during COVID. The feedback has been amazing. Our patients are very pleased with the platform.” –Suleima Salgado, Director of Telehealth, Georgia Department of Public Health 

Before the pandemic, patients and providers were hesitant to adopt telehealth, but now, patients are driving the conversation. They are pleased with the care they now receive from home, and DPH believes the demand for telehealth will continue even after in-person appointments resume in full capacity.   

“Telehealth is not going anywhere…It’s going to be a standard model of care now moving forward post COVID.” – Suleima Salgado, Director of Telehealth, Georgia Department of Public Health 

We’d love to hear what you think. Comment below and stay tuned for the next blog in our #HealthcareNow series. 

The post Georgia Department of Public Health: Keeping Doctors and Patients Connected appeared first on Cisco Blogs.

Evotec and Centogene Expand their Collaboration to Target Gaucher Disease


  • The two companies will work together to research, discover, and develop therapeutic options related to the deficiency of the protein GBA which is a gene linked to Gaucher disease
  • The collaboration will combine Evotec’s iPSC platform and drug discovery and development capabilities with Centogene’s global rare disease platform, including iPSC lines
  • The collaboration follows the companies 2018 agreement to discover and develop novel small molecules in rare hereditary metabolic diseases

Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: Evotec | Image: Wikipedia

QBiotics Announces Clinical Collaboration with MSD Targeting Unresectable Melanoma

QBiotics Group Limited (QGL), a life sciences company developing novel anticancer and wound healing pharmaceuticals, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with MSD (tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA), to evaluate use of its lead molecule tigilanol tiglate, in combination with Keytruda(R) (pembrolizumab) in patients with unresectable

The post QBiotics Announces Clinical Collaboration with MSD Targeting Unresectable Melanoma appeared first on Pharma Mirror Magazine.

Eli Lilly in Collaboration with NIAID Initiate P-III Study of LY-CoV555 to Prevent COVID-19


  • Eli Lilly initiates P-III BLAZE-2 study assessing LY-CoV555 to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 in residents and staff at long-term care facilities in the US (skilled nursing facilities, commonly referred to as nursing homes, and assisted living facilities)
  • The company will enroll up to ~2400 patients and test whether a single dose of LY-CoV555 reduces the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection @4wks. as well as complications of COVID-19 @8wks.
  • LY-CoV555 is a potent, neutralizing IgG1 mAb, directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. The therapy emerges from the collaboration b/w Lilly and AbCellera to create Ab therapies for the prevention & treatment of COVID-19

Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: Eli Lilly | Image: Fierce Pharma

DuPont Announces Research Collaboration with Rutgers University

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (DuPont) today announced a research collaboration in microbiome science with the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM) at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The two-year research partnership will focus on improving the benefit/risk ratio of chemotherapy by decreasing gut inflammation caused by chemotherapy to potentially improve response rates through modulation

The post DuPont Announces Research Collaboration with Rutgers University appeared first on Pharma Mirror Magazine.

Roche Signs RWD Collaboration with PicnicHealth to Create Personalized Treatment for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis


  • The real-world evidence partnership will allow the Roche to access PicnicHealth’s set of de-identified patient records to gain insights on certain diseases and treatments
  • The collaboration will initially focus on MS and may be extended to support Huntington’s disease (HD), paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), and hemophilia
  • The companies signed a multi-year collaboration that combines over 7yrs. of retrospective medical record data with 5yrs. of prospective data for 5,000 MS patients, including clinical outcomes and MRI images, to explore the progression of the neurodegenerative disease and facilitate the development of personalized treatments

Click here to read full press release/ article | Ref: Businesswire | Image: Medcity News

Merck KGaA Takes an Early Option in its Existing Immuno-Oncology Collaboration with F-star


  • F-star to receive option exercise payment and will be eligible to get milestones and royalties on net sales of therapies resulting from the collaboration. Merck KGaA exercises its option to license a preclinical program in its existing agreement with F-star
  • Merck KGaA will be responsible for the development and commercialization of the preclinical program and exercised its first license option in May 2019 that brought the first program from the collaboration into its pipeline
  • The companies have agreed to the licensing terms for the inclusion of two additional preclinical programs under the existing partnership

Click here to read full press release/ article | Ref: Businesswire | Image: Yasser Ibrahim Photography

5 Ways RWE is Fueling the Fight Against COVID-19

As we discussed in an earlier blog post, real-world evidence can bring value to every stage of the drug life cycle, from early discovery to post-market. Now, as the worldwide research community continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also discovering how real-world data and real-world evidence have something to offer in these efforts as well.

With regard to
COVID-19, one of the key ways that RWE can help is in managing the outbreak.
RWE can assist researchers in monitoring the disease and understanding how it
is affecting people, prompting insights that will enable better tracking and
strategic decision-making. There is also hope that the data being gathered and
analyzed could help evaluate potential treatments.

initiatives explore how to utilize RWE against COVID

In the last few months, a rapid succession of programs and collaborations have launched with an aim to use real-world evidence and data to take on COVID-19 from various angles. Here is an overview of a few particularly notable initiatives:

1. Evidence accelerator

The Reagan-Udall Foundation and Friends of Cancer Research joined forces to create the COVID-19 Evidence Accelerator, a portal and process bringing many teams together to capture real-world data related to COVID-19 to address important questions.

2. Government / industry partnership

One of the collaborations that has already grown out of the COVID-19 Evidence Accelerator is between the FDA and New York-based, data science-driven tech company Aetion. Together, their goal is to “identify and analyze fit-for-purpose data sources to characterize COVID-19 patient populations and their medication use, identify risk factors for COVID-19-related complications, and contribute to the scientific evaluation of potential interventions.” Various real-world data sources and Aetion’s own proprietary analytic platform are key to the endeavor.

3. COVID-19 study-a-thon

In late March 2020, the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) community held a four-day virtual study-a-thon to help aid decision-making during the pandemic. The study-a-thon had data scientists and researchers from around the globe designing and executing observational studies using real-world data from sources such as EHRs and administrative data. More events like this could be a great way of bringing the international community together to use RWE in the fight against COVID-19.

4. A data collection tool

Veracuity LLC, a biopharmaceutical safety informatics and analytics company, has designed an online survey tool that can be easily used by healthcare workers to collect and analyze real-world data on predisposing conditions, treatment strategies, outcomes and side effects that are experienced by COVID-19 patients. The tool, which is being distributed by the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety, is expected to help fill in knowledge gaps about COVID-19, from risk factors to treatment outcomes.

5. An electronic registry

Health tech firm xCures has established BEAT19, an initiative created to gather knowledge about COVID-19. Essentially it is a real-time research study in which people – both COVID-19 patients and people who are well – are invited to share their symptoms, stress level, etc. The aim is to amass data that will enhance understanding of the disease in an empirical way.

To learn more about real-world evidence, read our previous blog posts on why pharma is interested in RWE and RWD, the benefits of RWE in drug development and the regulatory response to RWE.