There are few opportunities for the digital transformation of healthcare as big as improving disease management. More than half of American adults (52%) suffer from at least one chronic disease, and globally, one in three of all adults suffer from multiple chronic conditions.
Digital health leaders recognize the opportunity that lies in digitizing disease management: In a recent survey conducted by BrightInsight and HealthXL and HealthXL, 61% of respondents said that disease management is the most promising use case for Software as a Medical Device (SaMD).
For biopharma companies, there’s a compelling business case for doubling down on digital health solutions. The industry has experienced unreliable returns in recent years and is facing significant challenges due to increased competition from “me too” drugs and biosimilars, downward pressure on drug prices from governments and payers, and increasing drug development costs, among other challenges. Meanwhile, new groundbreaking therapies are struggling to gain market access due to high prices and sparse Real-World Evidence.
In an increasingly competitive industry, it all comes down to meeting patient demands—and patients are asking for intuitive digital experiences in all facets of life, including healthcare. Eighty percent of patients prefer digital communication with healthcare providers at least some of the time, and 60% say they expect a seamless digital healthcare experience, akin to retail.
The need is there, the business case exists, patients are asking for digital, and biopharma companies are answering the call: The top five biopharma companies invested $270 million in SaMD between 2019 and 2021, and the global market opportunity for digital therapeutics is forecasted at $56 billion by 2025. The time for a comprehensive patient-centric digital disease management solution is now.
"Digital enables more engaging patient experiences by increasing therapy compliance, improving disease and medical tracking and as importantly, building connections among patients and with healthcare providers. The data collected with digital can be used to deliver more personalized therapies, increase reimbursement and potentially increase revenues through extended patent life."
– Brad Gescheider, Global Head, Digital Innovation and Patient Services, Immunology at Sanofi
Part of the challenge in designing digital disease management solutions lies in the complexity of disease management itself. Here are some of the key hurdles:
Drug-related morbidity and mortality from non-optimized medication therapy cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $500 billion in 2016. It costs pharma companies even more—over $600 billion a year is estimated to be lost to poor adherence worldwide. Research shows that a 10% increase in adherence would translate to a $124 billion pharmaceutical revenue opportunity, globally.
When digital health leaders invest in digital innovation, they’re often asked: How does this solution provide value? In other words, will this solution provide a solid return on investment? The most successful digital health solutions in disease management will check three major boxes:
Our ability to provide a sustainable competitive advantage with our products won't be based on developing our own cloud-based solutions—that’s not our expertise. Where we can generate new competitive advantages is in how we analyze and use the new data being generated by all of these digital health solutions."
– Paul Upham, Head of Smart Devices, Roche / Genentech
We’ve analyzed and identified some specific therapy areas that offer the most potential for disease management solutions. Each has its own challenges and opportunities:
Addressing the growing diabetes epidemic takes more than best-in-class medicines alone. We need to engage with people on their level and integrate with the solutions they are already using to manage their diabetes. Medical-grade digital health platforms like BrightInsight are key to helping us improve the conversation between people with diabetes and their caregivers."
– Anders Dyhr Toft, former Corporate Vice President of Commercial Innovation at Novo Nordisk
For diseases like heart failure, hypertension and arrhythmias, poor adherence can turn patient care from proactive to reactive, increasing morbidity, increasing care costs and negatively affecting quality of life. Digital solutions can link up data collected from devices like smart blood pressure cuffs, scales and ECG monitors with self-reported patient symptoms and lab work to give providers a more complete picture of a patient’s disease management—with proactive alerts to head off complications.
Diabetes is a costly and complicated condition to manage. While connected devices like insulin pens, insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors are important disease management tools, they are often siloed and fail to provide comprehensive support. Nearly half of diabetes patients do not achieve adequate glycemic control. Disease management solutions can include drug dosing support, patient apps, data integration and clinical portals for real-time data sharing and collaboration.
Innovation is everywhere in the field of immunology. As a variety of new and groundbreaking biologics become available, patients and providers need digital health solutions that help them work through adherence and self-reporting challenges. A robust patient app can help autoimmune patients track and improve quality-of-life metrics. Biopharma companies, meanwhile, can benefit from the capture of Real-World Data to demonstrate a compelling value story.
There is an opportunity for digital health to make an impact on people living with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as those rehabilitating from stroke and other mental health conditions. In a treatment landscape where it’s difficult to access consistent appointments with specialists, digital health solutions like patient apps can provide day-to-day support with features like symptom tracking, dosing reminders and behavior modification support.
There are a myriad of treatments for various types of cancer, with hundreds more in the pipeline. This presents so many options for patients, from new combinations of drugs to participation in clinical trials. Yet understanding and managing symptoms and side effects from therapies can be overwhelming to patients and lead to confusion. Patient apps that track symptoms through patient diaries and quality-of-life surveys can help patients better understand their therapy and improve patient-provider communication to bolster treatment adherence.
Over 300 million people globally are affected by over 6,000 rare diseases. Because they’re so uncommon, it’s challenging for the providers tasked with diagnosing, treating and managing these conditions. These conditions may also have complex dosing regimens or administration. Digital health solutions that include dosing algorithms, patient apps and robust healthcare provider interfaces can give both patients and providers the tools and insights they need to better manage rare diseases.
Respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are common, but they’re not always easy to treat. Providers rely heavily on patient reporting, while patients attempt to juggle a combination of preventive and emergency treatments. Digital health solutions in this space can unlock remote patient monitoring, symptom tracking, and apps that use third-party data, like personalized air quality reporting, to empower patients to control for environmental triggers.
In order to solve these disease management challenges and take advantage of the wide range of opportunities, it’s important to take a strategic approach. Here’s what you should look for in a solution:
Go with the proven partner that top biopharma companies trust. When you team up with BrightInsight, you can accelerate time to market while future-proofing your disease management solutions for regulatory, security and privacy compliance.
By building their disease management solutions on top of the BrightInsight® Platform, top biopharma companies can address patient and provider pain points and unlock a better path to adherence and persistence across a wide range of therapy areas and treatments.
This is a holistic one-stop-shop so we’re all on the same page with what’s going on with my health. This gives me the power to advocate for myself."
– Tanya, Breast Cancer Patient
CSL Behring chose the BrightInsight Platform® to build and operate their current and future digital health offerings aimed at improving treatment experiences for patients with rare and serious diseases. To better support remote care and enhance treatment experiences for adult patients taking Hizentra for Primary Immune Deficiency (PID) or for Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP), CSL Behring and BrightInsight partnered on the Hizentra app. CSL Behring wanted to improve the experience for patients taking Hizentra, who administer multiple daily subcutaneous infusions that require close tracking of timing and location of infusion sites.
The Hizentra app elevates the lives of patients by enabling them to manage their condition with independence, confidence and control. The app enables patients to easily track infusions, get reminders, and record and share their infusion journal with their doctor. The solution solved the pain points for CSL Behring and achieved rapid uptake of over 3,000 users—representing a wide cross section of Hizentra patients—and has earned a rating of 4.5 stars on the Apple App Store.
Novo Nordisk is leveraging the BrightInsight® Platform to build and operate many of their digital health solutions and the corresponding data from these smart devices within a regulatory-compliant environment.
The solution will capture data from Novo Nordisk’s next-generation connected insulin pens and integrate data from leading third-party diabetes solutions, including the Abbott Freestyle Libre system, the Glooko Diasend platform, the Dexcom continuous blood glucose meters, as well as diabetes solutions from Roche. Novo’s non-exclusive partnership strategy is incredibly unique in an industry where data is historically very siloed.
By safely and securely enabling data integration across Novo Nordisk’s partner ecosystem, the BrightInsight Platform supports Novo Nordisk’s goal of helping more people realize the full benefit of their innovative medicines to ease the burden of diabetes management for those individuals.