shutterstock_550426510.jpgDelivering “value” has become the paramount objective of many healthcare organizations, shaping their strategic priorities and driving new collaborations. But value in healthcare is a complex, abstract concept that can take on many forms. The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of chief executives and other thought leaders across the healthcare industry—including ZS—has been building consensus on the best ways to deliver value through its National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation initiative (NDHI). In 2016, NDHI announced six “VIable Solutions”—priority issues that private-sector organizations and policymakers alike should address in order to help transform the healthcare delivery system. They include:

  • Comprehensive care planning
  • Medication therapy management
  • Health information technology interoperability
  • Regulatory reform
  • Patient privacy
  • FDA reforms

To examine how healthcare companies are approaching these issues, ZS partnered with the HLC to create a compendium that showcases innovative programs and partnerships across the industry. In many of these initiatives, digital platforms play a key role in helping patients and providers manage care.


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The creation of digital health collaborations is a particularly noticeable trend for pharmaceutical and device manufacturers; they’re developing more and more digital solutions to enhance the value of their products. Because manufacturers’ customers are focused on the “triple aim”—cost, quality and population health—they’re most receptive to manufacturers that act as partners in driving these goals forward. 

Two specific collaborations come to mind that illustrate how pharmaceutical companies are bettering patient outcomes by partnering with digital health technology companies:

1. Propeller Health Partnership for COPD Adherence: Boehringer Ingelheim recently joined forces with Propeller Health, a digital healthcare platform for respiratory health management, to create a novel, digital-health-focused COPD treatment experience. This program aims to enhance COPD patients’ health through digital therapeutics and care management tools that not only educate patients about symptoms and adherence, but also relay disease management patterns to the patients’ care providers. This platform facilitates provider engagement and gives a more holistic view of patients’ disease management behaviors and concerns. Ultimately, this collaboration is expected to improve patient outcomes through both improved adherence and enhanced provider visibility. 

2. Project Sonar: Takeda has developed a cross-industry partnership with the Illinois Gastroenterology Group, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) and SonarMD (a health management platform) to reduce inpatient hospitalization and spending on inflammatory-bowel-disease-related complications. The partnership aims to tackle one of the biggest problems in patient care for this condition: patient engagement. Less than one-third of BCBSIL’s patients who were admitted for inpatient care related to this condition had any interaction with providers in the 30 days prior to hospitalization.

In this new partnership, patients receive highly coordinated care using a team-based approach that includes a nurse care manager and physician medical director. The team takes a more holistic account of the patient’s risk, treatment history and preferences, and then provides evidence-based care based on recommended guidelines. Through the digital health platform, patients are reminded to take medications and are asked questions about their care. Data from the platform is sent to the practice team on a monthly basis and analyzed to create a patient risk score for provider monitoring.

In its first full year, Project Sonar was successful in reducing inpatient admissions by 57% and decreasing emergency room visits by 53%.

As the healthcare environment continues to evolve, cost containment demands and a focus on outcomes will likely propel value-based care forward regardless of healthcare policies, so the pressure will continue for manufacturers to enhance the value that their products deliver. At the same time, technology companies are finding new applications for data collection and analytics that can make value-based healthcare a reality. Ultimately, what will move the healthcare industry toward that future state is these organizations’ willingness to partner to achieve these goals. HLC and its members are at the forefront of this change.


Topics: Katherine Barcay, patient health, HLC, healthcare partnerships, digital health