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Advancing Commercial Models in Life Sciences: Improving Treatment Adherence with Digital, Data-Driven Experiences

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Healthcare Business Today – by Brian Williams

Advancing Commercial Models in Life Sciences: Improving Treatment Adherence with Digital, Data-Driven Experiences

The effects of most drug therapies are invisible to patients, who may eventually stop taking them – in fact, adherence to chronic medication is about 50% globally. Solving the issues of compliance and adherence requires drug companies to reframe how they engage patients as consumers and help them understand and recognize the value of treatment. A key element in improving commercial models is digital experiences, which clinicians and patients, both informed by their experiences as consumers, have come to expect when they engage with the health system, medication management included. 

Currently, commercial models in biopharma, which haven’t evolved since the last generation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), lack those same convenient and digital interactions consumers enjoy in every other facet of their lives, from shopping and banking to communicating and going to school. By implementing new commercial models with consumer engagement in mind, biopharmaceutical companies can align their go-to-market approaches with this elevated set of customer expectations, improving medication adherence and, as a result, patient care outcomes. 

Potential Use Cases For New Commercial Models

Incorporating solutions with robust digital experiences that facilitate diagnosis, disease education and progression and treatment, are compliant with FDA guidance and deliver beneficial, quantifiable health outcomes to patients that payers recognize is the next phase of commercial model innovation. In particular, these integrated digital solutions, or digital therapeutics, can be designed to treat a disease, manage a condition or improve a health function. Consider these current examples of various digital therapeutics:

  1. Treat a disease: Millions of adults in the U.S. are living with chronic lower back pain, making it one of the most common chronic pain conditions in the country. This chronic pain can cause anxiety and depression, decreased quality of life and dependence on opioids. EaseVRx from AppliedVR is a prescription-use immersive virtual reality (VR) system that uses cognitive behavioral therapy and other techniques for pain reduction and interference for patients 18 years or older diagnosed with chronic lower back pain. 
  2. Manage a condition: Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that requires a person to test regularly, which, for most people, means sticking their finger with a needle or even wearing an insulin pump. Omada’s digital solution for diabetes management provides patients with connected devices, a professional health coach, weekly online lessons and a peer community. These tools and resources help participants remotely track blood glucose levels, manage stress, eat well and achieve their health and disease management goals.
  3. Improve health function: Inhalers are viable alternatives to medicine taken by mouth or injection, helping treat asthma and other lung diseases. Unfortunately, patients don’t always use their inhalers as they should, with one study of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease discovering that only 2.8% of patients used their inhalers completely correctly. Smart inhalers, such as ProAir, ArmonAir, and AirDuo from Teva Pharmaceuticals, have electromechanical sensors and microelectronics that monitor inhaler actuation. These devices will automatically remind patients to take their doses and alert them of missed or repeat doses, enabling the user to maximize the effectiveness of the medicine. 

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