Our meetings create a space for industry experts to connect and discuss the most current and evolving topics in the digital health space. This segment highlights key learnings and ideas cultivated by our network of payers, providers, pharmaceutical companies, health care and technology organizations. The 3 topics we dive into are:
- DTx opportunity for pharmaceutical companies - September 29th, 2021
- DTx - Medtech Partnerships - September 23rd, 2021
- Commercialization Models for Virtual Care in Cardiometabolic Diseases - September 21st, 2021
DTx Opportunity for Pharmaceutical Companies - September 29th, 2021
Pharma companies are accelerating their incorporation of digital tools across all aspects of their business with Digital Therapeutics (DTx) being an element of this digital transformation. However, what DTx means in practice for Pharma companies is still primarily pilots as companies grapple to see how to monetize DTx in a traditional pharma business. Pharma companies are working to define the ROI of integrating DTx into their offerings. One way to look at the ROI is by measuring how the DTx increases drug prescriptions and market share. However, this is not always easy to measure and in most cases is still being figured out. Other KPIs to consider are Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), which can be improved by adding a DTx product to the drug.
So far, most pharma-DTx collaborations have been companion-style DTx as opposed to standalone therapies. At least for the next 2 years, this is projected to remain pharma’s DTx business model as pills are their core business and they look to DTx as an enhancer to their core products.
Quite a few pharma companies have failed in their tests with DTx products. Some reasons why they’ve failed are:
- They were not able to establish the real value of these tools for HCPs and patients
- There was a lack of communication directly to patients and they did not focus on motivating patients to stay on those solutions
- Pharma needs to improve how they quantify the real value of DTx for their HCPs & patients and focus on patient engagement over time
Pharma and DTx companies also need a better alignment of culture. DTx companies need to identify the right ‘champions’ within a pharma company and look to these changemakers to help navigate the partnership towards success.
DTx - Medtech Partnerships - September 23rd, 2021
Pharma has been the main stakeholder collaborating with DTx companies so far; however, beyond these partnerships, there is an untapped potential in Medtech companies as they seem to be well aligned with DTx startups due to their focus on devices, connectivity, and interoperability. Medtech companies are also very familiar with the regulatory space, making it easier for them to combine their products with DTx.
Two use cases of digital health solutions in medtech include:
- Data generation and analytics to garner insights on the use of their devices and patient pain points.
- The use of algorithms for the early diagnosis, prevention of readmission after surgery, and solutions improving logistics.
At the moment it seems DTx-Medtech partnerships are more valuable for startups. Medtech companies provide these smaller companies with capital, however, medtech has repeatedly shown they are not yet ready to partner by breaking off the partnership before seeing any ROI.
In order to fully embrace digital health there will need to be a cultural change within Medtech. There is a real need for education in medtech companies, especially executives. When building the partnership, it is important to come up with a shared revenue model between the sales team and the DTx manufacturer to incentivize the sales reps. The DTx product needs to be close enough to what they are selling at the time in order for it to work.
In terms of KPIs, beyond revenue, medtech companies want to see adoption rates for both HCPs and patients. They also want to have a good understanding of how the reimbursement piece is going to look and what level of evidence is available to support the reimbursement process. With these considerations DTx has the potential to help Medtech in building new means to engage with patients to both improve efficiencies and gather meaningful data.
Commercialization Models for Virtual Care in Cardiometabolic Diseases - September 21st, 2021
Cardiometabolic diseases such as heart failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, amongst others, are leading causes of death globally. Since symptoms and signs can be easily measured by technology, cardiometabolic disease is one of the areas that has benefited the most from Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) programs so far. Both promising clinical and economic outcomes have been demonstrated, but beyond evidence and outcomes, getting paid for these solutions is one of the biggest challenges. Finding the right commercialization model is not easy for digital health companies operating in this space.
Commercialization models are still being figured out, with most everyone still experimenting on the right strategy. One of the most important factors that determines the best route to market for a virtual care solution in the cardiometabolic space is the region.
As we’ve seen in the EU, what works in one country might not work in neighboring countries. While the employer route is a valid option in the US, this is also not the same or as big of an opportunity in the EU. There are, however, good examples of virtual care solutions for cardiometabolic diseases in Asia. From a scaling perspective, they are way ahead compared to Europe or the US. This is probably due to the high penetration of tech and the fact that patients are more used to paying out of pocket.
Other relevant factors to consider when deciding the best routes to market are the types of disease and product objectives.
Ideally, virtual care companies should not lean on one single route to market, however, pharma partnerships do seem to be a good option for Virtual Care companies in the cardiometabolic space. Pharma companies are particularly looking for solutions that have already proven their value proposition in the market, not only in one hospital, but in different centers and ideally across different geographies. While money is important, it is not the main driver for pharma. The data generated using these solutions is really valuable for pharma, although they are still figuring out how to use it.
Pharma is also still figuring out how they want to handle patients that are not on their drugs; do they have to offer their solution to all patients to really drive HCPs adoption? If they do, it is really important that they have a meaningful end use case to sell internally. In the future, it might make more sense to shift to the ‘platform’ model where patients can find different solutions provided by different pharma companies to meet their virtual care cardiometabolic needs.
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