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Should pharma forget what it knows about chronic disease management?

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BIG THINKING

Should pharma forget what it knows about chronic disease management?

Camila Miller
Senior Analyst
Hall & Partners

LinkedIn Email

When we think of “chronic disease,” we think of permanent conditions — and patients who hope to continue living good lives by managing their disease with medication. As digital healthcare tools like remote patient monitors have emerged, we’ve invested in their power to optimize and extend this outcome. But have we underestimated their potential? One technology-based disease management system is putting pharma on notice.

Type 2 Diabetes is a classic chronic condition, generally experienced as progressive and non-reversible. Diagnosis has typically meant lifelong, 24/7 monitoring for the patient and eventual dependence on insulin. An endocrinologist assumed all control of their lifestyle and nutrition choices.

Enter Virta Health — an online service that, through remote guidance via smartphone (managed by a team of registered dieticians and coaches) promises to decrease patients’ insulin use, lower A1c levels, and ultimately reverse their Type 2 Diabetes. They’ve published the results of a clinical trial in which 60% of patients did just that.

Virta Health


Will the industry begin developing its own Virta-like digital tools, or lose patient share to them as healthcare tech advances?


Virta guides patients as they follow the ketogenic diet, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat regimen that allows the body to use its own fat (in the form of ketones) for energy rather than carbohydrates. Patients test their blood ketone levels using blood strips, and the resulting data informs Virta practitioners whether their patients are actually following the diet and reaping the benefits. Rich data, no reliance on self-reporting, outstanding results.

Vitra Health

What does this tell us about chronic disease management? One, that when patients receive closer monitoring and support than they currently do, outcomes can be transformative. Two, that technology affords providers with opportunities to provide richer support than ever before — across a potentially wide spectrum of conditions.

In this context, today’s challenge to pharma is simple. Will the industry begin developing its own Virta-like digital tools, or lose patient share to them as healthcare tech advances? The possibility may seem remote, but think about the possibility some more, because of this. Patients will continue heeding the command, “Ask your doctor if _____ is right for you.” If pharma doesn’t fill in the blank, it’s increasingly evident someone else just might.

 

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When we think of “chronic disease,” we think of permanent conditions — and patients who hope to continue living good lives by managing their disease with medication. As digital healthcare tools like remote patient monitors have emerged, we’ve invested in their power to optimize and extend this outcome. But have we underestimated their potential? One technology-based disease management system is putting pharma on notice.

Type 2 Diabetes is a classic chronic condition, generally experienced as progressive and non-reversible. Diagnosis has typically meant lifelong, 24/7 monitoring for the patient and eventual dependence on insulin. An endocrinologist assumed all control of their lifestyle and nutrition choices.

Enter Virta Health — an online service that, through remote guidance via smartphone (managed by a team of registered dieticians and coaches) promises to decrease patients’ insulin use, lower A1c levels, and ultimately reverse their Type 2 Diabetes. They’ve published the results of a clinical trial in which 60% of patients did just that.

Virta Health


Will the industry begin developing its own Virta-like digital tools, or lose patient share to them as healthcare tech advances?


Virta guides patients as they follow the ketogenic diet, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat regimen that allows the body to use its own fat (in the form of ketones) for energy rather than carbohydrates. Patients test their blood ketone levels using blood strips, and the resulting data informs Virta practitioners whether their patients are actually following the diet and reaping the benefits. Rich data, no reliance on self-reporting, outstanding results.

Vitra Health

What does this tell us about chronic disease management? One, that when patients receive closer monitoring and support than they currently do, outcomes can be transformative. Two, that technology affords providers with opportunities to provide richer support than ever before — across a potentially wide spectrum of conditions.

In this context, today’s challenge to pharma is simple. Will the industry begin developing its own Virta-like digital tools, or lose patient share to them as healthcare tech advances? The possibility may seem remote, but think about the possibility some more, because of this. Patients will continue heeding the command, “Ask your doctor if _____ is right for you.” If pharma doesn’t fill in the blank, it’s increasingly evident someone else just might.

 

Share this article

 

Camila Miller
Senior Analyst
Hall & Partners

LinkedIn Email

 

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