AstraZeneca is currently at a tipping point where the company has a unique opportunity to increase and embed the use of digital solutions to help patients achieve better health outcomes and a better healthcare experience.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a huge catalyst for change with an increased willingness by patients to use technology as part of their care and treatment regime. Combined with hardware and device advances and improvements in software capability, new digital technologies are creating opportunities to deliver more for patients than previously thought possible.
At AstraZeneca, the convergence of digital technologies with health is already starting to transform how they develop and deliver life-changing medicines to patients. From creating patient-centric clinical trials today to augmenting patient outcomes with digital health solutions tomorrow, their long-term vision is to reimagine healthcare with the patient at the centre.
Creating patient-centric clinical trials
Clinical trials are a critical part of bringing new medicines to patients. The people at AstraZeneca have been working with patients to understand how to make clinical trials easier for them, from solutions to help them find trials, to being able to participate and provide data remotely from home.
Embracing digital technologies reduces the need for patients to travel to trial sites and increases the diversity of patients that participate in trials. Continual data collection also give AstraZeneca the potential to obtain new and faster endpoints, and in real-time, giving healthcare professionals a better understanding of how a medication impacts the disease and its interaction with an individual’s overall health.
The company has also simplified what they ask of patients and clinical trial sites, stripping out the complexity wherever possible to introduce new and more convenient ways of collecting needed data. They have also introduced more healthcare services within the home and are finding novel ways of supplying medicines direct-to-door.
Augmenting patient outcomes through digital health solutions
Digital therapeutics is where health and technology merge to augment traditional medicines. These scientifically validated apps and devices, which are prescribed by a doctor, often alongside a medicine, deliver software-generated therapeutic interventions with the aim of directly improving a patient’s health.
In Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism, AstraZeneca is investigating the use of digital therapeutics to help predict worsening of heart failure and other areas of unmet need. The aim is for a patient to have a small patch-like device on their chest designed to monitor their heart. The patch will be connected to a digital health app on their phone or tablet and will use algorithms designed to help detect early subtle symptoms of worsening heart failure through real-time monitoring of the patient’s heart. The aim will be to provide the patient with an early warning, enabling interventions to avoid a worsening of heart failure, which would be very beneficial both in the short- and long-term and might potentially slow down progression of heart failure.
Reimagining healthcare for patients
The ultimate ambition is to reimagine healthcare – harnessing innovation to transform patients’ healthcare journeys to improve earlier diagnosis, precision treatments, and proactive digital monitoring for better outcomes – powered by digital, data and artificial intelligence (AI).
By harnessing digital health, AstraZeneca has the potential to drive the shift-change in healthcare that is needed to diagnose and detect disease sooner, manage risks, and help slow or potentially prevent disease onset.