Digital health. It’s all the rage.
What is it? More importantly, what does it mean to companies like ours that have been building longstanding pharmaceutical partners and successfully interacting with patients, pharmacists, and providers for more than 15 years?
TrialCard has invested substantially in attempting to answer this question in two ways.
- It has attended most, if not all, Digital Health conferences on the East and West coasts.
- It built QuickPath™, a technology platform that has the ability to scale with future affordability, adherence, and engagement needs of its pharmaceutical partners and their patients.
Boldly, I believe TrialCard has an answer. It might have an answer because of due diligence, research, and questioning completed through participation with leading consultant and Digital Health pharma teams, as well as with new and disruptive entrants into healthcare: Amazon, Facebook, Apple, etc.
The definitions of Digital Health vary across the board.
In one of the latest panel discussions, leading Digital Health visionaries were on stage representing top-tier consulting agencies, marketing agencies, big pharma, and technology companies. When the Q&A portion of the meeting began, I immediately raised my hand and asked, “In your opinion, what is Digital Health?” As you can imagine, they couldn’t answer the question. Honestly.
After discussing this issue with our VP of Analytic Services, Paul LeVine, he stated it was his mission to define the enigma that is Digital Health. LeVine later hosted a webcast titled, “Are Pharma Services Vendors Becoming Digital Health Agencies?” in an attempt to further contribute to the conversation.
Here are a few topics of discussion from the webcast:
- According to the FDA, the broad scope of Digital Health includes categories such as mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (HIT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine.
- Patients and consumers can use Digital Health to better manage and track their health and wellness-related activities.
- The use of technologies like smartphones, social networks, and internet applications is not only changing the way we communicate but is also providing innovative ways for us to monitor our health and well-being, giving us greater access to information.
- Providers and other stakeholders are using Digital Health in their efforts to:
- Reduce inefficiencies
- Improve access
- Reduce costs
- Increase quality
- Make medicine more personalized for patients
Together these advancements are leading to a convergence of people, information, technology, and connectivity to improve healthcare and health outcomes.
As you can see, the FDA did a fine job of providing guidance, but it did not ‘define’ Digital Health, per se. It did, however, provide certain attributes to support what we believe is a definition that works for TrialCard and, quite frankly, for others in our space.
“Digital Health involves the connectivity among people, processes, and data that is enabled by technology in the furtherance of people’s health and/or delivery of healthcare services.” —Paul LeVine, VP of Analaytic Services
So, what does this mean for TrialCard? Do we have to continue our best in co-pay and market access services? Absolutely. But we also need to create a world where what we do—market access and affordability—is no longer seen just as the ‘coupon’ or the ‘card’ but also as a true channel for engagement.
Our industry as a whole—both our competitors and new technology companies entering the market—has a unique opportunity to redefine our ecosystem. This can be done by leveraging mobile technologies that have caused the pivot of the consumerization of healthcare. Let’s face it, pharma has made the “pivot beyond the pill.” Now it’s time to look at market access vendors as moving “beyond the card.”
Is Digital Health on the Gartner Hype Cycle, the Trough of Disillusionment, or the Plateau of Productivity? Frankly, the answer is “yes”. What are you doing about it?
TrialCard will be attending Digital Pharma East at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from October 16-19. Whether you’re a friend, partner or competitor, please feel free to look for anyone from TrialCard to discuss the art of the possible.
James “Bart” Bartelloni, VP of Strategic Business Development
“Bart” Bartelloni has been with TrialCard since 2014 and brings 15 years of experience in business development and strategy across numerous business markets. In his current role, he leads TrialCard’s West Coast business development efforts and provides Digital Health expertise to future TrialCard products and services.