Could Community Pharmacy Demystify Digital Health for Big Pharma?


Pharmaceutical manufacturers could greatly benefit from the right partnerships with community pharmacies.

Earlier this year, David Shaywitz, author of Tech Tonics: Can Passionate Entrepreneurs Heal Healthcare with Technology, wrote an article for Forbes titled “Why Digital Health Has Not (Yet) Transformed Pharmaceutical Drug Development.”

The basis for big pharma’s reluctance to embrace the Internet of Things, social media, and digital health is easy to understand, but the excuses are becoming unjustifiable and outdated based on the speed of technology development and increasing supply of information available to the public.

As Shaywitz put it, “By providing greater insight into the patient’s actual experience of disease, collection of digital health data outcomes will reveal important differentiating features of new therapeutics, or point out aspects of illness that new medicines ought to attack.”

Collecting the data firsthand is necessary, but compiling the data and building an output mechanism in the form of a mobile widget or database might be the silver bullet.

But how, you might ask, do manufacturers get there?

Mobile health devices, wearables, and data-gathering tools are essential, but they must be consistent. These technologies will need to be accessible, easy to use, and include customer service aspects to ensure program efficacy.

Many of these patient touch points could be accomplished through a partnership with community pharmacies, which would welcome a transformation into wellness destinations. What better way to access patients consistently than through a trusted health care provider who is already part of the patient’s status quo?

Adherence programs are extremely important to pharmacy care providers, and digital health technologies can be helpful by improving adherence, providing population analytics, and delivering clinical decision support.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers could greatly benefit from the right partnerships with community pharmacies for patient disease state monitoring, data gathering, and communicating with patients through digital, mobile, and telehealth technologies.

With the proper program management and patient-centric customer support, big pharma could gain real-time insights into patient responses to their medications. They could also create customized medication synchronization offerings to ensure that community pharmacies do their part.

The hard part is to find the right talent. So, who’s hiring?

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