The Next Realm of Patient Care Is Bringing Pharma & Medtech Together

Breaking down the latest trends in new healthcare models and ways medtech can partner with pharma.

Susan Shepard

September 5, 2023

6 Min Read
Image credit: everythingpossible / iStock via Getty Images

Among the many lessons that COVID taught us was that in-home patient care is something that many people welcome. Patients and physicians alike appreciate the convenience that it brings. But to elevate the accuracy of these new healthcare delivery models, medical device companies and pharma need to partner to create more clinical-grade devices that are more reliable in providing the exact data needed to best treat patients.

In an upcoming session at BIOMEDevice Boston, Clinical-grade Medical Devices for New Healthcare Delivery Models and Partnering with Pharma, panelists will explore the latest trends in new healthcare models, and ways for medical device companies to partner with Pharma to create new devices that best serve this new sector.

MD+DI recently spoke with one of the session’s panelists, Jennifer Joe, MD, Boston VA Healthcare System Physician and AstraZeneca Care Redesign Director at Boston VA Healthcare System & AstraZeneca, to ask her some specific questions about some of the topics she and her co-panelists will discuss.

MD+DI: What are some examples of the new healthcare delivery models that you'll be talking about in your presentation?

Joe: The trend that we're seeing in the United States is towards value-based care. So that's one piece, but there’s also telemedicine and remote patient monitoring--going into the homes of the patients and seeing that as an opportunity. The hospital at home, which [copanelist] Dr. Conley is going to talk more about, has really pioneered that in terms of needing clinical-grade medical devices to take care of the patient. Pharma is really excited about the new model but also supporting the patient where they are versus bringing them into the hospital, and also the possibility for really understanding the patient’s journey to make sure that we can optimize that. 

MD+DI: Can you explain what clinical-grade devices are?

Joe: What we're talking about is the new sensors that have come about. Everyone’s got a Fitbit or an Apple Watch. And they've been widely used by the regular person for the last 10 years. Everyone asks well, why don't doctors use them? It’s because the quality needs to be higher and then there are regulations around how that data is pulled in and evaluated.

For example, I'm still practicing, and we get a lot of data, and we don't know how good that data is. Was the watch half hanging off? Or the blood pressure monitor probably wasn't collecting your accurate blood pressure, and so we ignore it. But as the technology gets better, there are opportunities for us to really intervene and take it seriously.

And also, for us at least in pharma, as we’re thinking about this, we’re starting to use some of that in clinical trials, to make clinical trials less cumbersome or burdensome. So right now, clinical trials are old school, we want you to come in, we draw your blood in-house. We actually make you come in to have a nurse check your blood pressure. We're really hoping that these developments allow us to move clinical trials from in the hospital to the home.

MD+DI: Can you provide some examples that might be happening right now between pharma and medical device companies?

Joe: Huma and AstraZeneca have teamed up to launch Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) companion apps targeted at several therapeutic areas and they will also partner to help accelerate adoption of decentralized clinical trials. And Dario Health has formed a strategic collaboration with Sanofi to promote and expand Dario’s multi-condition digital therapeutics to bring new or enhanced solutions that will benefit patients.

MD+DI: Why do you think this trend is happening now?

Joe: COVID really accelerated the fact that we couldn't take care of all the patients in the home. So that's where we really started to pioneer novel telemedicine and hospital in-the-home payment models to support the technology that was already being explored before COVID. And then COVID said, hey, we just don't have enough beds in the hospital, so can you take care of the patient in the home. So that's either telemedicine--a video visit or phone visit or remote patient monitoring, which is a phone or video visit, plus some devices like a remote blood pressure cuff or remote temperature monitor.

COVID forced us to really adopt that telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and it forced policymakers to really put payment models in place to support that during COVID. And a lot of those payment models have carried over and are continuing to carry over.

We also couldn't do clinical trials traditionally during COVID, so pharma also had to really figure out how to pivot to make clinical trials happen.

And at the end of the day, we all realize it was better for the patients. Meaning the patient doesn't have to stay in the hospital as long. For hospitals at home, they don't have to go into the hospital for quick and easy visits that can be accomplished by a phone call or a video telemedicine visit.

Not only that, but it also provided more equitable care to lower-resource socio-economic groups and rural groups who can't trek in for general care. And who also can't trek in to participate in clinical trials. There are a lot of great initiatives and learnings that COVID pushed us toward, so we’re really excited about continuing that.

MD+DI: What do you hope that your attendees will take away from your session?

Joe: That the need for clinical-grade remote patient monitoring medical devices is there, we're seeing the market happen. Doctors from a treating-the-patient standpoint want it, and patients for being able to get care in the home want it. Pharma in terms of a supporting easier and equitable access to clinical trials wants it and we also anticipate supporting, a little bit more in the future, care in the home, as well for our therapies so that patients don't have to trek into the hospital for some of our more complex therapies.

And from Pharma’s perspective, we're excited about partnering and accelerating these technologies. So, if you have an interesting use that you'd like a partner to see how it could be tested with a hospital system, or you need to partner with pharma to see how pharma could also use those in a clinical trial or some of our more complex therapies, we’re open and excited be part of that conversation. So, feel free to reach out.

MD+DI: Who should attend the session?

Joe: This audience tends to be mostly traditional medical device and engineers, but startups that work in the space can also attend. If you're a startup, we partner with startups all the time. Hospitals, I've supported partnering with hospitals. So, it should be applicable to everyone who is thinking about moving care to the home.

MD+DI: Any final thoughts?

Joe: I think those are the highlights. We’re very excited about medical device engineers and companies supporting the space to take us to the next realm of patient care, which is moving into the home. It should be good for everyone.

“Clinical-grade Medical Devices for New Healthcare Delivery Models and Partnering with Pharma,” will be held on Thursday, September 21, 2023, from 2:15 to 3 p.m., on Center Stage at BIOMEDevice. Panelists include Joe, Jared Conley, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Verusksa Sena, Executive Medical Director at AstraZeneca. 



About the Author(s)

Susan Shepard

Susan Shepard is a freelance contributor to Design News and MD+DI.

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