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AMCP 2016

Driving Preventive Care Through Digital Medicines

Laura Joszt
The current reactive healthcare system is driving digital health innovations, Yoona Kim, PharmD, PhD, head of clinical modeling and analytics with Proteus Digital Health, said at the AMCP Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy Annual Meeting 2016.
Dr Kim then explained some of the companies that are integrating all the data being connected. Philips takes data from blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, scales, and other devices that is collected in a single hub and sent to a nurse who contacts a physician when needed. The company is also taking this data and creating an algorithm to learn which patients are at risk so an emergent event can be prevented.
 
Zephyr is also in this space and it has added on a wearable patch that can capture ECG readings, heart rate and respiratory rate. The company uses a color coded alarm system to alert nurses to which patients are most in need.
 
Dr Kim’s own company, Proteus, is layering behavioral data on top of all that health data being collected.
 
“Really, the most fundamental behavioral biomarker is medication adherence: whether or not a patient is actually taking those medications and how are they taking it,” Dr Kim said.
 
Proteus has a wearable patch that works with an ingestible sensor. When the ingestible sensor is swallowed and reaches the stomach, it is activated and sends a signal to the patch. The patch records the ingestion data as well as physiologic metrics.  All of this information, including adherence patterns, is provided to the patient and caregivers to help engage patients and inform treatment decisions.
 
On top of all the physiologic and behavioral data being collected is Omada Health, said Dr Kim. Omada has a disease management tool that layers virtual care on top of the data collected.
 
Plenty of challenges still remain, however. For instance, it’s hard to find the right digital biomarker—step count may not be relevant to everyone. In addition, there are still data silos that need to be bridged, and one issue that is top of mind is determining who will be responsible for reviewing the data and reacting to it. Another challenge is determining who will pay for digital health.
 
“I think digital health really has the potential to revolutionize care from access to diagnosis and treatment, change the way healthcare is delivered, transform the cost curve,” Dr Kim concluded. “I think it has all of that potential, but there are some challenges in terms of regulatory and reimbursement [barriers]. But on the other hand we’ve seen some promising data, as well.”

 
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