HealthBeacon, a medication adherence technology company, announced a partnership with a patient support provider, Bionical Solutions, on 10 June. Together, these companies aim to provide a truly digitally connected patient support programme (PSP) in the UK.

Partnerships such as this are a small indication of the clear development of a digital ecosystem within the healthcare space. Digital technology has been increasingly enabling a patient-centric model, which pharma companies need to adopt in order to remain relevant and deliver better health outcomes.

Medication adherence technology

HealthBeacon has developed the world’s first smart sharps bin for tracking patient adherence to chronic injectable medication. Launched in 13 markets, the smart bin has helped patients with chronic diseases adhere to their medication schedule, with 20–30% higher adherence within the first year. The burden of chronic diseases is rapidly increasing worldwide, and adherence to long-term therapies for these diseases is about 50% in developed countries on average.

Thus, smart digital technology from HealthBeacon has the potential to significantly lift some of the burdens caused by poor adherence. Combined with the targeted outreach PSP and a digitally connected platform from Bionical Solutions, HealthBeacon’s technology will not only become more widely accessible, but also offer a more personalised approach to patient treatment.

Other programmes or mobile apps, such as those focused on simple adherence reminders, have experienced difficulties in the past regarding effectiveness over longer periods. As such, the market is now undergoing a shift from simple reminder services toward richer, more personalised, patient support programmes.

The use of digital technologies in pharma continues to accelerate across many channels. Notably, there is an increasing number of smartphone apps that offer potential benefits to patients by improving treatment outcomes. Digital support tools are also increasingly being developed beyond a single channel, and are moving in the direction of connectedness. Digitally connected PSPs are a natural consequence of the digital revolution and will facilitate the patient-centric approach that pharma is aiming to adopt. Advances in connected devices, sensors, and predictive analytics will completely change the existing PSP models and eventually lead to truly personalised care for patients.