Patients in the driving seat: how digital is giving patients control of managing their care

Written by Rosie Pigott

This is the first in a series of patient centricity blog posts. Sign up to our mailing list here to be the first to read our next post.

Last month, I urgently needed antibiotics to treat an infection. I was going on holiday the next day and had no time to visit the clinic (assuming it would even be possible to get an appointment). Instead, I used Push Doctor, an app that enables virtual meetings between patients and physicians. True – I had to pay £20 for the appointment and then for my subsequent prescription – but, within the space of half an hour, I had managed to book and attend a consultation and was on my way to the pharmacy.

New technology is completely re-shaping the definition of patient centricity today. Imagine participating in a clinical trial from your own home, submitting your health data and interacting with your doctor online.

M-health has been a buzzword for many years, but it’s only now beginning to gain real traction. Digital is empowering the patient by enabling access to their own health records, which will allow them to self-select to participate in clinical studies, for instance. Medopad is one example of bleeding edge technology that enables patients to capture data through smart devices, transmitting it to healthcare professionals and using artificial intelligence to predict potential complications. In the future, new and differentiated products will emerge as companies start to exploit technologies such as the digital pill.

Medopad enables patients to capture data through multiple smart devices.

It’s not just start-ups and biotechs who are leading the charge – Pharma is innovating too. Novartis is experimenting with the approach in respiratory care by integrating chips into their breathalyzer device for COPD. These chips synchronize with the patient’s iPhone or iPad so they can see their data in real time, as can physicians in order to personalize their care.

Patients are even developing solutions for themselves, one example being the CatchMyPain app for chronic pain sufferers, which provides a visual tool for patients to diarize their pain and use this to describe their experience to physicians.

CatchMyPain provides a digital tool for chronic pain patients to capture their experience

In order to seriously compete with leaner biotechs and respond to the increasing demands of patients, Pharma needs to significantly accelerate and strengthen its value proposition in the digital space.

Patient-centred technology also offers an opportunity to differentiate from Generics, who will invariably be more competitive on price. Pharma needs to invest more in its technological capabilities and systems, without losing site of patient needs, in order to do this. In the world of Amazon and Google, there is no option of slowing down.

This is the first in a series of patient centricity blog posts. Sign up to our mailing list here to be the first to read our next post.

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