What About Big Pharma & Hospitals In The Digital Health Landscape?

By Kim Krueger

In a young and volatile digital health world, the relative absence of a pharmaceutical presence could be understood. Slow moving, highly regulated drug companies had reason to wait and see before jumping into the risk of the relative unknown that was (and still is) digital health. But now, the reasons for not getting involved are wearing thin as giants like Apple and Samsung reveal just how serious they are with the launches of HealthKit and the Simband, respectively. Yes, digital health is still sorting itself out, but with established players jumping in and increasingly clear opportunities, it’s time for pharma and hospitals alike to get involved.

Some brave early movers on the pharma side have clustered around a few key points of entry into digital health. For example, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Healthcare Innovation group has taken aim at medication adherence with their Care4Today app. Pfizer, meanwhile, experimented with an entirely remote clinical trial in 2011. Clinical trials have since become a focus of intense top-to-bottom innovation in digital health, and although Pfizer’s trial was shut down for lack of participation, the study was run successfully on a second attempt in 2013. Finally, the rise of prescribable pharma-digital therapies is sure to continue as WellDoc paves the way with its FDA-approved, reimbursable, mobile-enabled diabetes management program. These focus areas will continue to be important as pharma gets acquainted with digital health, but the opportunities are even wider.

What these early movers have begun to capitalize on are the latest trends in health care that are making digital health a crucial opportunity for pharma. Namely, that we are experiencing a “systemwide refocusing on values and outcomes measurement” as director of Merck’s M2i2 group Aman Bhandari recently told MobiHealthNews. This convergence means that health care organizations can no longer afford to play in a single niche. Increasingly, to participate meaningfully in the space means to offer a suite of services and solutions that collectively moves consumers (no longer simply patients!) towards better health.

As pharma and hospitals step up to the digital health table, we invite you to come take a seat at ours. This fall at the 8th Annual Health 2.0 Conference, the pharma and hospital roundtables will convene some of the top minds from pharmaceutical companies and hospitals around the world to debate and discuss how innovation in digital health is changing the playing field for stakeholders across the health care system. From the earliest phases of research to clinical trials to the way consumers engage with the health care system on a daily basis, come hear lessons learned from partnership case studies and valuable insight for moving forward. Email Kim Krueger at kimk@health2con.com to learn more.

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