In order for pharmaceutical companies to move medicine into the 21st century, they’re going to need to develop relationships with companies developing medical devices. Modern medicine calls for pharma companies and clinicians to have data about their patients. The pills that pharmas make can’t communicate with doctors so in order to get the information that clinicians will need to make medical decisions, they will need devices to gather and interpret that data.
In a blog post published by MDDI Online, Wende Hutton, general partner at Canaan Partners, says that in her view, pharma companies are committed to digital initiatives that would have them in essence moving “beyond the pill.” Hutton says that wearable technology represents a big opportunity for both pharma and medical device companies. The need to monitor patients gives device companies a new device target ripe for innovation and the data produced by the resulting devices will give pharma and clinicians better information for the treatment of patients.
“Putting the physician-patient visit as the target for wearables/devices data can create tremendous value,” Hutton says. “If data from all medical devices and wearables could be consolidated, it makes it easier for physicians to assess patients’ compliance with drug regimens. It can also enable titration of prescriptions where physicians can adjust doses until desired results are reached.”
The challenge for this new frontier is that the health care industry as a whole is notorious for being siloed. Pharmas, medical device makers, health insurers, and clinicians communicate with each other poorly, if they communicate with each other much at all.
Hutton sees an opportunity here for medical device companies to take the lead in this new era of connected devices. These companies have the experience developing products and shepherding them through the FDA’s approval process, so they bring credibility to the process. While some large companies, such as Google and Apple, have made noise about entering the health space, these companies don’t have the experience working in a highly regulated field, such as health care.
While pharmas bring to the table experience with regulators, they may lack the internal expertise in developing devices. That means that in order for the pharma industry to move beyond the pill, they must work together with medical device makers.
Hear from both pharma and medical device leaders about the future of healthcare technology
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