While most consumers have pages and pages of apps on their phones, they routinely use only a handful of them. For any patient who may be taking a half dozen or more medications to manage a particular chronic condition, it’s easy to start to feel like a stunned deer caught in the proverbial headlights.

Making matters worse, individual drug- or disease-specific apps — designed to support one part of the patient’s journey — don’t talk to each other, so that creates additional demands and burdens for patients in terms of the time and effort that may be required to log in and use each of these daily offerings for maximum impact. The parallel competition for the patient’s time and attention span ultimately undermines the utility of these digital offerings and signals a missed opportunity for pharma/life sciences companies to help patients manage their healthcare challenges in the most effective way.

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While most consumers have pages and pages of apps on their phones, they routinely use only a handful of them. For any patient who may be taking a half dozen or more medications, it’s easy to start to feel like a stunned deer caught in the proverbial headlights.

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Since our health and wellness is of paramount importance, why don’t we have a similar approach for our financial health? Consumers won’t accept or tolerate disjointed silos and confusion as they closely monitor and manage their financial health, so why are we patient in accepting prevalent silos and persistent confusion when managing our health and wellness?

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As companies continue to seek ways to eliminate barriers and support more consistent adherence to therapy, they should take a page from the playbook of consumer marketing companies, which focus their efforts more directly on the anticipating and meeting the needs of the consumer, and building brand awareness and loyalty.

Digital offerings associated with some of today’s successful consumer brands offer enticing opportunities to be explored by biopharma companies. Consider Waze, the crowdsourcing app that helps drivers quickly find the most successful route while avoiding accidents and slowdowns along the way. This popular digital offering allows drivers to drive across country with seamless support — it does not require separate apps for each of the 50 states.

Specifically, there is fertile ground still to be cultivated by the biopharma industry when it comes to really seeing and interacting with people as consumers, not patients — consumers who make choices based on how they are educated and supported, motivated and rewarded, over a lifetime when it comes to managing their overall healthcare journey.

If the value of today’s useful digital offerings is to be fully realized, a best-in-class adherence ecosystem is needed — one that seeks to impose more order, logic and interoperability into this chaotic universe of digital offerings. At the end of the day, the goal is to engage and support individual consumer/patients, to maximize adherence, in the most meaningful and stress-free way.

We need better human health outcomes and better patient experiences — not digital confusion in the name of digital health. Humanizing healthcare is improving health access, experience and outcomes by harnessing the power of innovative and intelligent technology, and human ingenuity.

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Ted Boyle

Managing Director – Global Digital Health Lead

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