Patient partnerships: putting relevance into relationships

There are perhaps two ways to look at 2020 – on the surface, it has been a year of pandemic health catastrophe, on a deeper level it has been a year where we finally acknowledged the fragility of health partnerships and the importance of good relationships between the pharmaceutical industry and the patients it serves.

‘New normal’ – on warp-speed
In the past decade, industry has been moving away from a transactional engagement model and towards one more based on collaboration and conversation. We arrived into 2020 with the vision and enthusiasm that a new decade offers to find that as a sector committed to a collective global health endeavour, we suddenly had to work much more openly and cohesively to problem-solve for people infected with coronavirus and to help to shield people with chronic conditions rendered even more vulnerable to the impact of reduced access to treatment and supportive care. That endeavour became essential; it became necessary to build partnerships that are not defined by the volume of the interactions but instead by the value that each interaction brings to all of the stakeholders.

Value over volume
At NexGen we have always focused on bridging new partnerships between patient groups and pharma experts. Our role is to facilitate common ground so that patients’ voices and needs are expressed to the right people within pharma and that the right people within pharma are equipped to ‘actively listen’ to those needs.

 

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3 practical steps for improving patient support

Research Partnership’s Emilie Braund and Harrison Gaiger dig down into the top insights pharma companies can harness to make their patient support programmes as powerful as possible.

The pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted the healthcare landscape and amplified the complex factors that influence and shape patient journeys. Findings from our recently published whitepaper ‘Free thinking: The impact of COVID-19 on chronic disease management and the implications for pharma marketing’ revealed that, in the spring of 2020, two thirds of physicians across Europe felt patient management was severely impacted as a result of COVID-19. Remarkably, global health systems have evolved quickly in an attempt to adapt to the crisis and great strides have been made to continue providing patients with the information and care they need. In our research, 89% of physicians across Europe reported replacing face-to-face consultations with virtual consultations during the first wave of the pandemic. However, in some additional research we conducted with healthcare professionals, over two thirds across both the US and EU feel patients are still in need of additional support to help manage their condition.

Patient support programmes (PSPs) can play an integral role in providing such assistance. Well-developed PSPs offer a number of opportunities to improve disease management, optimise treatment pathways and deliver better patient outcomes. Our research found the following patient needs being fulfilled by effective PSPs:

  • Adherence and compliance
  • General education on condition
  • Help with self-care
  • Advice for a healthy lifestyle
  • Advice on own treatment management
  • Psychological support

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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A collaborative approach to greater diversity in clinical trials

The need for diversity in clinical trial populations has been a topic of discussion across regulators and the industry in general for decades. Despite the introduction of US policies, beginning with the 1993 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Revitalization Act which called for the inclusion of more women and communities of colour in clinical trials, clinical trial data has remained largely based on healthier Caucasian subjects with minimal representation from minorities (African American, Latinx, Asian, Native Americans), the elderly, young, and those with co-morbidities.

To encourage more of a focus on clinically relevant populations, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released “Enhancing the Diversity of Clinical Trial Populations – Eligibility Criteria, Enrollment Practices, and Trial Designs Guidance for Industry” to increase participant access to clinical trials and the enrolment of underrepresented populations to ensure clinical trial data reflects the population most likely to use the drug if approved1. The guidance encourages sponsors to remove overly restrictive and legacy exclusions, broaden protocol eligibility criteria, and improve trial recruitment practices so trial data is clinically relevant for the end user.

Historical performance data, like that provided in FDA Drug Trials Snapshots, has shown that using traditional recruitment practices by themselves does not enhance the diversity of clinical trial populations. Fundamental barriers and deeply rooted mistrust of medical research motives among communities of colour require a more thoughtful and deliberate approach to participant outreach. PPD has seen recent successes in the recruitment of more clinically relevant trial populations through the implementation of patient-centered trial solutions designed to address the most common barriers to clinical trial participation among these diverse patient populations – mainly trust, understanding, awareness, access, time, and cost, especially when delivered in collaboration with organisations focused on communities of colour and community leaders to ensure optimal receptivity.

 

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Enabling new models of care: pursuing pharma’s partnership potential

There is a huge, ongoing shift in how health and wellness is approached in the UK, and the changes will have important implications for NHS-industry partnerships.

Transformative change is coming to the NHS and is set to radically alter how the UK’s health service cares for people at a population level.

The NHS Long Term Plan signposted this change, with its emphasis on preventative health, and the forthcoming expansion of the Integrated Care Systems programme continues this direction of travel on a path towards the long-cherished hope of joining up health and social care.

As new approaches to healthcare attainment take hold there will be some degree of uncertainty among pharmaceutical companies about where they fit into the new structures and the holistic care they seek to provide.

But they’re not the only stakeholders working to map out how to enable new models of care and what their role should be.

 

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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‘No going back’ for clinical trials after COVID

Trial sites have adapted swiftly to the restrictions of COVID-19, and patients have seen many knock-on benefits as a result. The next step is ensuring the industry does not regress to old ways of working once the pandemic is over, say Karen McIntyre and Allyson Small.

COVID-19 has changed everything for clinical trials – but in most cases these are changes that were well overdue.

“For years and years, the industry has debated the practicalities and safety of decentralising clinical trials, using telemedicine, and where study activities should take place,” says Karen McIntyre, executive director, global lead Catalyst Program & site relationships at Syneos Health. “We were always having these discussions, but nothing moved forward.”

When the pandemic hit, regulators around the world rapidly updated their guidelines to reflect the realities of conducting trials amidst lockdowns and social distancing mandates.

“For example, drugs are now able to be delivered directly to patients to allow for a clinical trial visit to take place remotely,” says McIntyre.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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How patient insights are changing trial solutions

Patients have been asking for patient-centric trial solutions for years – the industry just hasn’t been listening. That’s according to Medidata’s Anthony Costello, who was bringing patient feedback into product design long before COVID-19. He tells us what insights pharma has been missing out on and how they can be harnessed to build better solutions.

COVID-19 might have forced the industry to leave behind its reticence around remote and decentralised trials, but according to Anthony Costello, senior vice president of mobile health at Medidata, this reticence wouldn’t have existed in the first place had the industry been genuinely listening to patients.

“Patients have not been saying anything new during COVID-19, but the difference is that the industry has woken up and started paying attention,” he says.

“Patients have long wanted more and better technology to use in studies so that they don’t have to visit sites so often, but the industry has been very reluctant to go in that direction.”

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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True patient-focused research through decentralised and hybrid trials

How can pharma improve the patient-centricity of its trials during COVID-19 and beyond? Experts from across the sector give their thoughts on the key approaches and technologies that are driving patient engagement forward.

With COVID-19 presenting new barriers to running and recruiting for clinical trials, making studies patient-centric is more important now than ever before.

According to one analysis, conducted by Global Data, approximately 67% of trial disruptions during the early stages of the pandemic were due to the suspension of enrolment, followed by the delayed start of planned trials at 18.4% and slow enrolment at 14.4%.

Ensuring that trials are easy to access and don’t overly burden the patient is essential amidst these potential disruptions – but a truly patient-centric trial has benefits beyond enrolment.

Trials that are engaging and easy to partake in can lead to higher adherence, higher satisfaction, improved data quality and overall performance, and can even give participants a more positive view of the sponsor company in terms of their commitment to bring new treatments to patients.

 

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Boosting the impact of patient services

New research from Accenture has revealed that adoption of patient support services hasn’t improved since 2015 despite increasing pharma investment. The company’s Jennifer Spada tells us how companies can boost awareness of their programmes to improve patient outcomes.

As part of its drive towards patient centricity, the pharma industry has increasingly been building patient support programmes that can offer beyond-the-pill services to patients. The market for patient engagement solutions was worth $8.8 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $18.68 billion in 2022, an annual growth rate of 16.2%.

These programmes can help guide a patient through complex information about diagnosis and treatment choices, or aid them with information on the medical and financial aspects of care, and also include day-to-day care management such as medication reminders, symptom monitoring, and nursing support.

Research has shown that when patients utilise these services, adherence increases, quality of life improves, hospitalisations and ER visits are reduced, and survival rates rise.

 

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Finding agility in unprecedented times

Nicole Farmer, general manager, UK & Ireland at Sanofi Genzyme, tells us how the company aimed for agile adaptation during COVID-19, and how these lessons are driving patient centricity going forward.

2020 has been a watershed year for every company in the industry – and for Nicole Farmer, general manager for the UK & Ireland at Sanofi Genzyme, that meant moving into a pharma leadership role at a time when things couldn’t be more uncertain.

Nevertheless, Farmer – who was appointed in May at the height of COVID-19 – says that her main goals when coming into the company hadn’t changed due to the pandemic.

These goals were: creating an environment where people have the courage to be proactive and not wait to be told what to do; pushing beyond current limitations; and keeping customers and patients at the heart of why Sanofi does what it does.

 

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Patient journeys in the era of COVID-19

OPEN Health’s Richard Jones and Sumira Riaz assess the pandemic’s implications for understanding patients’ experiences and how the pharma industry can support them

It’s impossible not to view healthcare in 2020 through the lens of the current global pandemic and COVID-19 is certainly set to cast a long shadow over patient needs and engagement.

Even when the virus is tamed, and recent advances with vaccines are grounds for much optimism, the huge societal and healthcare changes that we’ve seen take place this year will undoubtedly have left their mark in all sorts of altered, and new, approaches.

The way in which patients make their way through the healthcare system has shifted enormously, bringing disruption to the patient experience. COVID-19 has driven massive uptake of different types of digital support and interventions, most notably with telehealth.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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How pharma needs to change for the era of digital health

Experts from Healthware Group explore how companies can rebuild their approach to digital from the ground up for the benefit of patients.

Digital is not just a nice-to-have for pharma companies – it’s a necessity for ensuring that patients have the best possible outcomes in modern healthcare systems.

With digital tools and techniques being able to improve almost every aspect of a pharma company’s business, from R&D to sales, there’s no excuse for not implementing digital transformation at every level – and that’s not even mentioning new opportunities for life science firms to produce digital products that can complement or even replace traditional medicines.

Roberto Ascione, founder and CEO of Healthware, says that this landscape means that companies like his need to expand to be “communicators, connectors and builders” all at once – and this is a philosophy he has built up within Healthware over the last two and a half decades.

 

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Deep Dive: Patients and Partnerships

As this issue’s title suggests, patient centricity is about more than just talking points and marketing strategies – it requires companies to truly listen to, engage with and partner with the patients they serve, and in putting this month’s Deep Dive together it’s been great to see that so many pharma firms are now taking this to heart.

Not only that, but we are seeing patient insights being considered at every stage of a product’s lifecycle, from product design to clinical trials and even post-marketing patient services. In this issue you can read expert viewpoints from across the industry on how pharma can optimise its patient engagement at all these stages.

Finding agility in unprecedented times
Nicole Farmer, general manager, UK & Ireland at Sanofi Genzyme, tells us how the company aimed for agile adaptation during COVID, and how these lessons are driving patient centricity going forward

‘No going back’ for clinical trials after COVID
Trial sites have adapted swiftly to the restrictions of COVID-19. The next step is ensuring the industry does not regress to old ways of working once the pandemic is over

True patient-focused research through decentralised and hybrid trials
How can pharma improve the patient-centricity of its trials during COVID-19 and beyond? Experts from across the sector give their thoughts on the key approaches and technologies that are driving patient engagement forward

How patient insights are changing trial solutions
Patients have been asking for patient-centric trial solutions for years – the industry just hasn’t been listening. Medidata’s Anthony Costello tells us what insights pharma has been missing out on and how they can be harnessed to build better solutions

Boosting the impact of patient services
New research from Accenture has revealed that adoption of patient support services hasn’t improved since 2015 despite increasing pharma investment. Jennifer Spada tells us how companies can boost awareness of their programmes to improve outcomes

3 practical steps for improving patient support
Research Partnership’s Emilie Braund and Harrison Gaiger dig down into the top insights pharma companies can harness to make their patient support programmes as powerful as possible

Enabling new models of care: pursuing pharma’s partnership potential
There is a huge, ongoing shift in how health and wellness is approached in the UK, and the changes will have important implications for NHS-industry partnerships

A collaborative approach to greater diversity in clinical trials
Despite new policies, trial data has remained largely based on healthier Caucasian subjects. Evidera’s Rhonda Henry explores ways to change this

Patient journeys in the era of COVID-19
OPEN Health’s Richard Jones and Sumira Riaz assess the pandemic’s implications for understanding patients’ experiences and how the pharma industry can support them

Patient partnerships: putting relevance into relationships
Emma Sutcliffe explains how to build partnerships that are not defined by the volume of the interactions but instead by the value that each interaction brings to all stakeholders

COVID-19 – Delivering a pandemic of change to digital medical education
Medscape’s Adrian Duncan explores findings from an FDA trial looking at the impact of digital medical education on antibiotic prescribing

How pharma needs to change for the era of digital health
Experts from Healthware Group explore how companies can rebuild their approach to digital from the ground up for the benefit of patients

 

• Read the latest issue Deep Dive: Patients and Partnerships 2020 in full

Patients and Partnershipspharmaphorum’s digital magazine Deep Dive provides objective, issue-driven views, analysis, high-level interviews and unique research for pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms and the wider healthcare sector.

In 2020 Deep Dive will have special focuses on disruptive technologies in pharma, R&D innovation, market access and commercialisation, oncology, sales & marketing innovation, digital health and patient engagement. Subscribe to future issues of Deep Dive.

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VR, COVID and ensuring safety with cutting-edge tech

Not too long ago virtual reality (VR) tech might have seemed like a dream, but now it’s being harnessed by the healthcare industry for a wide variety of purposes, and during COVID-19 has helped educate physicians when real-world training isn’t feasible

Commercial VR is still a relatively fresh prospect, but already the pharma and healthcare industries have caught onto the hype and are exploring the myriad ways this tech could be used to improve patient outcomes.

That’s not to say VR is widespread in the sector – far from it – but the readiness to adopt such a new technology from even big pharma firms is somewhat surprising considering how conservative the industry has been in the past.

Novartis, for example, has used the tech to help researchers improve the molecular makeup of a drug, by allowing them to view these structures at a larger size and in a more “natural” 3D view. Similarly, Pfizer is using the technology to allow researchers to visualise and virtually explore the human body at a molecular level. One recent study even explored how VR could be used to analyse drug candidates that target the main protease of the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID-19.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Navigating the NHS as a digital start-up

We speak to finalists from the Greater Manchester Future of Health accelerator to find out how digital start-ups can overcome the challenges small companies face in bringing their technologies into the NHS.

Right now the NHS is embracing digital to an extent no one could have foreseen a year ago – but that doesn’t mean it’s a smooth journey for digital health start-ups looking to gain traction in the health service.

“COVID has forced the NHS to change, but so far most of the implemented digital innovations have been low-hanging fruit such as video consultations,” says Rory Cameron, CEO and co-founder at diabetes risk management app Gendius. “Adoption of new tech is still a real challenge.”

He says that part of the problem is that standards of care are rapidly changing, and it is therefore difficult for companies to prove their concept.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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A pivotal moment for digital health adoption

Former chief digital officer for the NHS, Juliet Bauer, is now applying her experience to the private sector through video consultation firm Livi. She shares her thoughts on how well the NHS is integrating digital health and what the public and private sectors can do to further boost adoption.

Bauer’s path to working in the NHS began when she spent many months in the care of the health service with a highly risky pregnancy and an extremely premature baby in NICU.

“I was hugely grateful for the brilliant care I received whilst in hospital – but I could also see the huge potential for digital to improve patient access and efficiencies across the NHS,” she says.

Bauer wanted to utilise her first-hand patient perspective and experience in digital transformation to drive positive, long-term change.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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What will the digital health ecosystem look like post-COVID?

COVID-19 has turned the world on its head and healthcare systems have had to respond rapidly to match the sudden changes created by lockdown. Digital health had already been building a presence before the pandemic, but the tools it offers have been essential to counter the disruption caused by the coronavirus, reports Richard Staines.

COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon but when, and if, this crisis subsides the healthcare systems that are left behind will have changed radically.

While the pandemic has been a global tragedy it has also forced health systems to rethink the way they operate in order to minimise risks to both patients and healthcare staff.

With face-to-face contact posing a risk of virus transmission, the emphasis has been on remote appointments where possible, backed systems that triage patients remotely to manage the pressure on the system.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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3 innovations booming during COVID and how to adopt them successfully

Research Partnership’s Vicki Newlove explores research into digital change during COVID-19 to find out what business questions pharma needs to address to succeed with innovations.

Pharma companies are facing a confusing and uncertain future, and no one can say how the industry might look in a year’s time, or what the balance of digital and physical working might be. Even those companies that responded well to the pandemic and quickly embraced digital can’t know how long restrictions will last, and many are still revising their strategies and figuring out how best to position their digital offerings.

The companies that will thrive are those who gather insights into how COVID is impacting the patient journey and physicians’ behaviour and adapt accordingly. This will allow them to put robust, long-term strategies into place.

Our own research has shown marked shifts towards digitisation in the industry. For example, findings from our Therapy Watch report ‘Free thinking: The impact of COVID-19 on chronic disease management and the implications for pharma marketing’ show that 89% of physicians across the EU5 report replacing face-to-face consultations with virtual consultations during the pandemic.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Digital therapeutics: Why human psychology is key to adoption

The healthcare system is running at its limits in many countries worldwide. One reason is the growing demand for healthcare, largely driven by the rise of chronic diseases. COVID-19 has further underscored just how stretched the system is today. Is there any solution to the twin challenge of managing costs while extending capacity?

We believe that digital technologies are an important part of the answer. Although still in early stages, it is poised for broader adoption thanks to recent technological advances. While digital won’t help solve all the problems in our healthcare system, it will significantly contribute to easing the cost and capacity burden.

One particularly promising area in this context is digital therapeutics. Based on the analysis of individual patient data, patients receive personalised medical recommendations – through an app or a digital platform – without the need for physician intervention. Digital therapeutics can help patients stick to treatment plans and/or better understand what triggers critical situations. Digital therapeutics are already available for different indications including diabetes or asthma and are being developed in many other areas as well.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Building the infrastructure for successful digital health start-ups

2020 might go down as the year digital health truly began to boom – but to continue thriving, health tech start-ups will need a strong support network and an environment that fosters innovation.

With advanced tech becoming ubiquitous, healthcare stakeholders finally embracing digital, and patients rapidly shifting their preferences, there has arguably never been a better time to be a digital health start-up.

Dr Kath Mackay, managing director of Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park – the UK’s largest single-site life science campus – says there are many positive signs for the sector.

“There’s a lot of investment in life science and digital health. Private and public stakeholders are keen to fund these companies, and many firms are growing. People are embracing digital technologies like never before, and awareness has never been so high.”

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Two decades of digital: the changing habits of pharma and HCPs

When Chris Cooper of EPG Health launched his ‘European Prescriber Guide’ software twenty years ago, he was among a select few taking digital in pharma seriously. Since then he has seen the industry slowly come to embrace every aspect of digital. He tells pharmaphorum how pharma can learn from the past to enter an innovative future.

“I always knew pharma was notoriously slow to adopt change,” Cooper says when asked about the unexpected digital changes he has seen in the industry over his career, “but I never thought 20 years ago that change would take this long in digital!”

Luckily, he says, the industry has now got to a stage where it is starting to think beyond just clicks and impressions and is treating doctors as consumers of valuable and relevant information – and there has been no better time for pharma to harness this to make their content more impactful than ever.

This is a path Cooper has been on for some time, though, and he was somewhat ahead of the curve when, in 2000, he founded the European Prescriber Guide, which aimed to give up-to-date prescribing information to HCPs via a software application.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Germany’s digital health changes will boost digital therapeutics in Europe

Digital therapeutics are gaining momentum worldwide and offer developers, including pharma, both a huge opportunity and a stimulating market access challenge, say Olaf Schoeman and Emanuele Arcà.

The last 12 months have shone a spotlight on digital transformation in Europe’s healthcare systems, with all the signs pointing to digital therapeutics (DTx) moving ever more into the healthcare mainstream.

Germany is spearheading these advances, particularly with its 2019 changes on national digital health reimbursement. The country will provide further momentum during its presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), which runs from July until December 2020 and will see it work closely with the succeeding presidencies of Portugal and Slovenia. The countries have agreed a ‘trio programme’ to identify issues that would benefit from a fluid transition from one EU member state’s presidency to the next to form an 18-month agenda, with progress in digital health one of the highlights of their plans.

While we would not expect digital therapeutics to replace pharmaceuticals themselves, they could bring huge complementary benefits to patients and prescribers and, in doing so, could bring pharmaceutical companies perhaps as much value as the medicines they traditionally produce.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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A new dawn for clinical trial management

It’s time for pharma to take a 360-degree view of its clinical trial data and step into the future with near real-time trial management.

The pharmaceutical industry faces an important inflection point in its approach to clinical trials and it’s one that COVID-19 has thrown into even sharper relief.

The last great change for studies was the advent in the early 2000s of electronic data capture (EDC). At the time there was a significant amount of resistance to EDC, but now it’s rare to hear about the collection of trial results using paper in all but the occasional single site investigator study.

Now, the major advance that’s available to pharmaceutical companies is in the amount and range of data they have access to and how it can be applied to the risk-based monitoring and remote monitoring of studies.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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The key elements driving the success of digital health

Ahead of Frontiers Health 2020, steering committee members Roberto Ascione and Paul Tunnah from Healthware give us their thoughts on the trends driving the bright future of digital health.

It might be easy to think of pharma and healthcare as conservative industries, but the reality is that digital health is now far further along than we predicted it would have been 10 years ago – or even one year ago.

Much of this is, of course, down to COVID-19 – but it’s clear that digital health was already on the up and up long before the pandemic hit.

When the industry first started talking about digital health, we were really talking about ‘beyond the pill’ strategies, which mostly included things like apps to boost adherence and patient support programmes.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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Deep Dive: Digital Health Innovation 2020

Most of the digital health experts we spoke to for this issue of Deep Dive made one thing clear – no one can really say what the future holds for digital tech in the pharma and healthcare industries.

But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – our interviewees also stressed that if companies can remain adaptable and innovative, there are myriad opportunities to thrive during and after COVID-19. In this issue we hone in on some of the tech that is set to change healthcare forever – including VR, AI and digital therapeutics – and look at how pharma can best harness themWe also examine how the pandemic is affecting digital sales, patient support programmes and HCP consultations, and speak to some exciting digital start-ups that are bringing new ways of managing health into systems like the NHS.

The key elements driving the success of digital health
Ahead of Frontiers Health 2020, steering committee members Roberto Ascione and Paul Tunnah from Healthware give us their thoughts on the trends driving the bright future of digital health

A “pivotal moment” for digital health adoption
Former chief digital officer for the NHS, Juliet Bauer, is now applying her experience to the private sector through video consultation firm Livi. She shares her thoughts on how well the NHS is integrating digital health and what the public and private sectors can do to further boost adoption

What will the digital health ecosystem look like post-COVID?
Digital health had already been building a presence before the pandemic, but the tools it offers have been essential to counter the disruption caused by the coronavirus, reports Richard Staines

Germany’s digital health changes will boost digital therapeutics in Europe
Digital therapeutics are gaining momentum worldwide and offer developers, including pharma, both a huge opportunity and a stimulating market access challenge, say Olaf Schoeman and Emanuele Arcà

Digital therapeutics: Why human psychology is key to adoption
How can we boost low adherence rates for digital therapeutics? The psychology of the ‘therapeutic alliance’ might help

Navigating the NHS as a digital start-up
We speak to finalists from the Greater Manchester Future of Health accelerator to find out how digital start-ups can overcome the challenges small companies face in bringing their technologies into the NHS

Building the infrastructure for successful digital health start-ups
2020 might go down as the year digital health truly begun to boom – but to continue thriving, health tech start-ups will need a strong support network and an environment that fosters innovation.

Two decades of digital: the changing habits of pharma and HCPs
When Chris Cooper launched his ‘European Prescriber Guide’ software twenty years ago, he was among a select few taking digital in pharma seriously. He tells pharmaphorum how pharma can learn from the past to enter an innovative future

Thriving in COVID-19 with flexible marketing strategies
Pharma sales is set to change forever. To keep afloat in the current climate, teams need to embrace flexibility and remember that traditional content won’t work in new contexts, say experts from Syneos Health

VR, COVID and ensuring safety with cutting-edge tech
Not too long ago virtual reality (VR) tech might have seemed like a dream, but now it’s being harnessed by the healthcare industry for a wide variety of purposes

3 innovations booming during COVID and how to adopt them successfully
Research Partnership’s Vicki Newlove explores research into digital change during COVID-19 to find out what business questions pharma needs to address to succeed with innovations.

A new dawn for clinical trial management
It’s time for pharma to take a 360-degree view of its clinical trial data and step into the future with near real-time study management.

 

• Read the latest issue Deep Dive: Digital Health Innovation 2020 in full

Digital Health Innovationpharmaphorum’s digital magazine Deep Dive provides objective, issue-driven views, analysis, high-level interviews and unique research for pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms and the wider healthcare sector.

In 2020 Deep Dive will have special focuses on disruptive technologies in pharma, R&D innovation, market access and commercialisation, oncology, sales & marketing innovation, digital health and patient engagement. Subscribe to future issues of Deep Dive.

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Responding to dynamic shifts in value communications

OPEN Health’s Beth Lesher and Annemarie Clegg examine what the convergence of medical communications and market access means for pharmaceutical companies.

Value in healthcare is a continually changing concept. As the needs of different stakeholders evolve and gain in prominence, pharmaceutical companies must be prepared to address value from various viewpoints using a variety of different metrics.

The evolution of value in healthcare is a trend that has important implications for communications, particularly because ‘value’ is very much in the eye of the beholder. For a physician, value may centre around safety and efficacy whereas healthcare decision makers and regulators may place more emphasis on cost. Patients may place more value on cost when dealing with a chronic disease and quality of life when dealing with an end of life illness.

As patients play a more active part in their own care, physicians grapple with the ever-changing nature of medical science and payers are continually pushed by budgetary constraints, it’s important to understand that how you communicate value to the industry’s various audiences needs to be different.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine

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The tools and techniques making virtual patient simulations more realistic than ever

Patient simulations have been a key tool for educating physicians in some form for hundreds of years – and now cutting-edge technologies are helping them become more realistic and informative than ever. Medscape’s Martin Warters tells us more.

Learning from a textbook can only take you so far, and when doctors need to put theory into practice in a safe environment, they often turn to patient simulations that use a case study approach to emulate real life clinical scenarios.

Modern day recognisable simulations have been used in medical education since the 18th century and have evolved into realistic and medically accurate physical and digital solutions designed to allow learners to simulate a scenario-based encounter with a patient in a safe environment.

This has ultimately led to the development of virtual patient simulations (VPS), which have become one of the most impactful ways clinicians can learn.

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Cutting through the noise for HCPs

In a world producing more content than ever before, getting information to time-poor HCPs can be incredibly difficult – even if they want to find it. Ian Daley and Jonathan Macdonald from EPG Health tell us how pharma can take cues from digital publishing and companies like Amazon to make sure their messages get heard.

We’re a long way from the times when doctors would get most of their medical information from print journals and medical meetings. Even before COVID-19, physicians were becoming more and more digitally savvy, especially as millennials entered the workforce.

But this has not necessarily made pharma’s life easier. The industry still often struggles to deliver their messages to HCPs and engage with them effectively.

“One phrase I’ve heard is that ‘information is available for those who want it, not those who need it’,” says Ian Daley, chief digital officer at EPG Health, which publishes the medical website Medthority. “If you’re hell bent on finding information, you probably will, but you’ve got to know where to look for it and invest time in reaching it, whereas people who are busy need information quickly and on a device that works for them, but have trouble finding it.”

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GSK’s John Fleming on rethinking oncology from the ground up

What if we could look at cancer treatment from a completely fresh perspective? This is the philosophy GSK’s UK country medical head for oncology, John Fleming, wants to bring to the company as it rethinks its approach to cancer.

Fleming joined Novartis in 2015, when GSK divested its oncology portfolio to the Swiss firm. It might seem surprising, then, that his focus on cancer would bring him back to GSK – but, as Fleming points out, the company never truly left the oncology space, and it seemed to him to be the perfect place to help transform outcomes for people living with cancer.

“When people talk about GSK re-entering oncology, that’s really a misconception,” he explains. “The divestment involved a lot of second-to-market oral therapies, which didn’t have the opportunity to be truly transformational and lead in their classes – so what was left behind was an R&D engine that was free to innovate and discover new molecular entities. It was a blank slate, if you will – an unencumbered starting point for us to look at fresh approaches and discover new modalities and classes of drugs.

“That’s why I chose to return to ‘GSK oncology 2.0’ – because we have this opportunity to build with a start-up mindset at a large pharma.”

 

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Commercialising innovative new medicines

As pharmaceutical ingenuity hits new heights, ensuring that patients gain access to innovative medicines requires a unique combination of evidence generation and communication

Working with all stakeholders to generate evidence that communicates value, from early phase development to launch and reimbursement, is essential in therapy areas including oncology.

These are challenging times for the pharmaceutical industry as it navigates an oncology landscape offering an increasing array of new ways to target and treat cancer.

The rise of ever-more personalised treatments for different tumour types, a greater understanding of the mutations that cause cancers and the increasingly central role of combination therapies are just some of the factors that make this a particularly complicated and competitive space.

 

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How to increase haematologists’ and oncologists’ confidence with new treatments

A new whitepaper from Medscape highlights the difficulties haematologists and oncologists face in keeping up with rapid developments in treatment. We speak to the company’s Katie Lucero and Victoria Harvey-Jones to find out how independent medical education is changing to help HCPs increase their confidence in treating cancer patients.

It’s an exciting time to be a haematologist/oncologist, with new clinical data emerging and new drugs being approved at a stunning pace. But this comes at a price – physicians sometimes struggle to keep pace with the mountains of data, and the resulting implications for clinical practice and the patient sitting in front of them.

Decision making is becoming particularly difficult for haematologists/oncologists in the community setting – who treat more than 50% of all cancer patients in Europe. Community haematologists/oncologists can also see patients who present with every type of solid tumour, as well as haematological malignancies.

A Medscape confidence-based assessment of European Union haematologists/oncologists found that, when selecting from eight different treatment choices for a patient with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, only 43% of them were confident in their choice, at best (see figure 1).

 

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Clinical decision support tools will help oncologists manage complexity

Making treatment decisions is a tough choice for oncologists: a therapy might save or significantly extend one patient’s life but not deliver the desired outcome for another patient. Reaching this decision involves weighing a variety of data – from clinical trials to the patient’s medical background – and with the advent of more personalised oncology, the sheer volume of data that needs to be considered is growing exponentially.

When we speak to oncologists, the most consistent feedback we hear is that the complexity of information is increasing and we need support to access it faster, more efficiently and in a more targeted manner.

Consider how precision oncology will fundamentally change the way cancer patients are treated. First, instead of looking at the organ of the cancer’s origin only, doctors are going to pay more attention to the patient’s genomic characteristics and the medical history when deciding on the most effective cancer therapy. With next-generation sequencing technologies now broadly available, it is easier than ever before to understand the genomic variants of a cancer. We expect many new therapies based on the molecular profile of a tumour to come to the market in the next three to five years; for some indications it could be two or three times as many therapies compared to today.

All the ‘new’ data that is becoming available is driving therapeutic decisions in oncology.

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