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Tracking and managing daily heart health has never been easier, thanks to the proliferation of digital tools available, such as smartphones, apps, and wearable devices available to consumers. These technologies can deliver a more robust view of peoples’ health in everyday life, thus allowing clinicians to step virtually outside clinic walls, for deeper understanding of patients’ experience living with and managing their disease.  These “beyond the clinic” approaches utilize  data that is passively and continuously collected to augment the episodic snapshots from clinical encounters, thus yielding rich information and actionable insights that can help patients and care teams work together to get patients on the right treatments faster and improve their quality of life.

Evidation Health recently hosted a panel discussion that I moderated on enabling individuals and their care teams with actionable insights to more effectively manage heart disease. 

The panel included John S. Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Science & Quality Officer at the American College of Cardiology (ACC); Kalahn A. Taylor-Clark, PhD, MPH, VP and Global Head of Patient-Centered Outcomes and Innovation at Sanofi; and Mikki Nasch, Evidation’s Co-Founder and VP of Business Development.

Patient Engagement is Critical

Dr. Rumsfeld noted that the episodic nature of health care today presented a significant challenge. Many clinicians only spend 15-20 minutes with a patient every few months. They then have to make decisions based on limited data and information, making it more difficult to prescribe the proper treatment regimen.

The panelists agreed that the health care system should take advantage of emerging technologies and tools that connect individuals, clinicians, and research experts virtually and provide a more complete profile of the patient, the disease and the best treatments.

Changing the Industry’s Focus

Dr. Taylor-Clark also stressed the increasing emphasis on the individual patient. “One of the things we’ve been thinking about at Sanofi, and one of the conundrums the life sciences face, is that the traditional customer has not been the end user, the patient,” she said. “It’s been HCPs [health care providers] and payers. At Sanofi, we believe that we need to be much more focused on the patient, and that means getting insights on their lived experience.”

Dr. Taylor-Clark explained how greater access to person generated health data (PGHD) and real-word evidence (RWE) has changed how the life sciences industry understands medication adherence. She used the example of life-saving anti-diabetes medicines, saying that a certain amount of weight gained in 30 days indicated a 75 percent higher chance of non-adherence. “And that points to depression and behavioral health,” she said. “So rather than just pinging [the patient] and telling them to take their medicine, we can tailor something to their needs—behavioral health services, social work services, and the like.” 

Shifting the Paradigm

The group talked about the potential of virtual health services to reduce inequality. The great equalizer, they agreed, was access to a phone, emphasizing that while wearables are helpful, they aren’t necessary—and when they are necessary, they can be prescribed at relatively low cost.

“When we’re looking at the world we live in now, health care has been this interesting space where the patient hasn’t actually been part of the conversation,” said Mikki Nasch. “So now we’re saying that having an educated patient is a good thing. Having an engaged patient that can self-advocate and help themselves along the path of recovery is one of the key missions of this relationship.”

“Evidation is very focused on creating meaningful relationships with patients,” Nasch said. “We’re on the direct to patient side, and we try to directly connect their PGHD and engage them in the long term to shift how they think about their health. Then we can help really quantify their lived experience of the disease.”

Ground-breaking Collaboration

The panel also discussed Achievement for Heart Health, a new program developed by a partnership between ACC and Evidation. The initiative’s mission is initially focused on heart failure, designed to help individuals better understand their cardiovascular health using data generated by wearables and other connected devices.

ACC and Evidation will provide patient navigation tools to guide patient and clinical care team interactions and deliver personalized, evidenced-based educational content for patients on topics including heart medications, nutrition, and stress management. Evidation’s unique consumer engagement platform, Achievement, a network built on a foundation of user privacy and control and trusted by millions of individuals, will power the program.

It’s All About the Patient

In the end, the group reiterated that ongoing patient engagement is the critical element needed to provide actionable insights and the most effective treatments. 

To illustrate this, I underscored the importance of real-world data and new virtual health models for patients like myself. “As a patient, 99 percent of my life is outside the clinic. It’s so important that we measure this and bring it into the clinical experience so my clinician and I can work hand in hand to improve my health.”

The recording of the panel discussion is available to view here

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