Digital Health C-Suite Series: BrightInsight's CGO, David Matthews, on best practices for launching and scaling digital health solutions

Dave Matthews C Suite

In the latest installment of our BrightInsight Digital Health C-Suite Series, BrightInsight’s Chief Growth Officer, Dave Matthews, PhD, talks about launching digital health solutions, the challenge of achieving scale and establishing a framework for ROI. You can watch the full interview, or read on for a recap.

It starts with the patient

Digital differentiation starts with understanding the patient journey—what are the patients really suffering from? What are they challenged with? What are the frictions in their care? “When we start programs, when we work with biopharma, we always start with: ‘What is the patient dealing with?’” That focus on the patient experience allows BrightInsight to build the best digital programs, which drives adoption. “You build the right product, and the right product will actually continue to get adopted by patients, even through word of mouth.”

Digital and IT folks often are interested in product, but they often have a remit that‘s focused on proof of concept or the initial prototype; in contrast, commercial leaders often have the P&L for the entire drug in mind. “They're thinking about omnichannel marketing, and how to really drive the best outcomes for their patients, across the globe, so they don't necessarily have time to focus only on digital.”

The marriage of those two groups is really what's critical for success, uniting their differing lenses and capabilities to drive the right digital product, and then drive engagement and adoption.

For example, BrightInsight’s partner in the rare disease space, CSL Behring, has an incredible collaboration between digital and commercial for an at-home infusion product. The project began with the digital team’s vision, then brought in the commercial team’s clinical, drug-specific and patient perspectives to drive the desired outcomes.

“What they did well was focus on the first and biggest problem for patients, and then move on from there. By hitting the most important challenge the patient faced, we drove really big value for the patient and they, by word of mouth, started using the product more and more effectively, sharing it with their friends who also had the disease.” Ultimately, more than 20 percent of the Hizentra U.S. patient population was using the digital product.

Overcoming the challenges of scale

The biggest challenge to achieving scale involves a technical side and a go-to-market side. On the technical side, breaking into new markets means new jurisdictions in which regulatory, quality, security and privacy regulations differ. “By using a platform that already solves for all of those challenges, you're really in a position to grow fast.”

On the go-to-market side, the issue is reaching critical decision-makers among the patient population, such as clinicians or patient advocacy groups. The recipe for success is “working across the spectrum, in almost an omnichannel way, to drive the digital adoption and then outcomes.”

“Omnichannel” could include a direct-to-patient model, using a standard Google AdWords approach to bring awareness to the patients who are making those decisions for themselves; coupled with a clinician-oriented model; plus integration with EHR systems that work with the largest patient sets.

Providing a proper framework for ROI

It’s important to demonstrate return on investment in any business. In digital health, the ROI questions are often framed as financial. From that perspective, the ROI argument for digital solutions is that a few million spent developing a solution can drive tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues. But in thinking about the opportunity, it’s easy to get lost in the idea of driving X dollars for every dollar of investment.

The clinical argument is actually more compelling. The ROI framework should be built around driving a specific patient outcome via an initial investment and contain a defined series of steps designed to mitigate the risks of achieving that outcome. “The business models follow when you're driving real value for patients.”

Looking ahead

It’s still early on digital health’s maturity curve, with a few market leaders entering the field of play. And in much the same way that a successful patient outcome-focused approach delivers benefits in terms of adoption, scale and ROI, successful early digital health solutions will compel those still on the sidelines to enter the space. “This year, we're going to see launches that actually drive meaningful change for patients, and that's going to be a thing that really drives additional adoption from other pharma companies who are looking in and saying, ‘I'm not sure I'm ready yet.’”

You can find all the videos from our C-Suite Series on our YouTube Channel.

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