The roles must be reassigned
Digitisation is an industrial revolution. New technologies are breaking up and changing markets, conventional products and services are being replaced and established systems require rethinking. The health care system, too, is in flux and undergoing fundamental change. Those who react to change and rethink at an early stage will be successful in the future.
In the same manner as the technical possibilities are constantly changing and developing within the scope of digitisation, the resulting demands on the health care system and medical technology will be changing too.
Measured in terms of life expectancy, people have never fared better than today. Living conditions, but above all medical progress, have in days gone by reduced or even defeated deadly diseases. However, improved living conditions have given rise to lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, but also autoimmune diseases such as polyarthritis or Crohn’s disease.
In addition, one can observe a change in behaviour on the part of the users. Many patients have great confidence in technical progress in the medical field. This gives the market and us as a company the opportunity to offer innovative medical solutions for self-treatment. The topic of patient adherence, i.e. loyalty to therapy, will determine the development of injection and infusion systems in the coming years. With our SmartDevices, such as SmartPilot for the YpsoMate autoinjector, and the networking of Ypsomed Diabetescare products around the mylife YpsoPump insulin pump, we are already able to cover a large part of the issues of adherence and self-responsible therapy. This is where our technological developments support people who feel responsible for their therapy.
Digitisation is not only changing the behaviour and demands of patients. It also transgresses long-established networks of relationships between the players in the health system. The responsibilities, tasks and expectations of the individual stakeholders are increasingly changing. The traditional distribution of roles no longer lives up to the digital change and some of the roles have to be redefined.
What does digitisation mean for us:
- Application of novel digital technologies to increase therapeutic success
- Opportunities for differentiation through innovative service-oriented business models
- Collaboration with partners outside traditional industry boundaries
- Creating new mechanisms for patient interaction
Talking about the same thing together
Digitisation not only concerns us as a manufacturer of injection and infusion systems. Digitisation in the healthcare sector affects all stakeholders: From the drug manufacturer, the medical staff to the patients. It is therefore all the more important that all stakeholders have a common understanding of the future of health care and that the roles are clearly defined. Digitisation is not merely about collecting and storing data. The key to the success of future innovations is to integrate and process the data to create added value. Automated systems are only possible on this basis. The data must become useful information and ultimately knowledge that can be used profitably in therapy. SmartDevices are components of integrated systems and transfer the data from the patient into the system. The system evaluates the data, interprets them and transfers the therapy recommendation back to the SmartDevices and thus to the patient.
Five steps into the future
In the Ypsomed Diabetes Care segment, we are already taking a good step in this direction with the mylife YpsoPump System. With the wireless connection of the insulin pump and the blood glucose monitoring systems, we are today already able to provide users with therapy suggestions based on current insulin and blood sugar data via the mylife App. A prerequisite for future automated systems is to bundle the collected data and automatically send it back to the insulin pump as a therapeutic intervention, or to make it available to the patient as a therapeutic suggestion. At Ypsomed we refer to this as SmartLoop.
In order to use the data collected for therapeutic purposes, modern drug delivery systems must be able to operate in five steps. In concrete terms and in the case of automated insulin pump therapy, this means:
- Medical devices must be able to collect and store therapy data.
- The collected data is sent directly or via mobile phone to platforms such as cloud solutions via a wireless connection of the products.
- The data from the various sources must be integrated there in order to recognise and interpret meaningful patterns and therapeutic behaviour.
- Based on the interpreted data, the physician can make therapy adjustments or an app could send therapy suggestions directly to the user.
- The patient or the physician can view these therapy suggestions digitally and accept or reject them as therapeutic action. It is also conceivable that the device will be able to automatically control the patient’s therapy based on the interpreted data, instead of manual correction.
In the Ypsomed Delivery Systems segment, the translation of these five steps is more complex because a larger number of stakeholders is involved. Most pharmaceutical and biotech companies have their own interpretation of digitisation and what will be in demand on the market in the future. To be successful, the various stakeholders must work together and develop a common understanding.
However, there is little motivation on the part of the cost bearers. Most cost bearers are regionally oriented and too strongly involved on the administrative side to develop a global solution. Up to now, pharmaceutical companies have shown little interest in the therapy behaviour and data of patients, but will have to rethink in view of changing market demands. Pharmaceutical companies bring with them knowledge in a traditional sense, i.e. how therapy behaviour affects therapy. For physicians, on the other hand, it is not desirable and efficient to work with different systems.
Which leaves the manufacturers of medical devices. As a manufacturer of injection systems, we see it as our duty to take on a pioneering role and actively contribute to shaping future market developments. With our products, we provide the technology, hardware and services to capture the data in the first place, and we are also planning to provide a therapy-independent platform that will facilitate further processing for our customers - the pharmaceutical and biotech companies.