We regularly have conversations with global pharmaceutical companies that are trying to decide if they should engage a large consulting and/or technology platform company to build their own digital health solutions or partner with existing digital health leaders, like Twill (and others), to bring digital solutions to their patients.
Here are 5 questions every pharma company should ask in this decision-making process answered by Twill's Chief Strategy Officer, Chris Wasden:
1. Are you looking to build an app or a patient/physician engagement solution?
We find the first challenge pharma often has is in thinking of the decision as a software one. It is not. It is an activation, engagement and behavior change problem that must deliver a compelling ROI. And a software application is far and away the easiest part of the digital patient experience. And we all know, from our own experience, that most software fails to deliver activation, engagement, behavior change and ROI.
Is the final deliverable merely an app? Or is it a platform that is scalable, configurable, flexible? Can it deliver the solution in multiple languages, multiple countries? Can it be extended to other medical conditions? Can it be easily added to or modified? Can you quickly, in hours, add additional content, activities, etc.? Or are you signing up for endless change orders with the consultant that will cost millions of dollars every year just to add basic features and functionality because you don’t have a patient/HCP engagement platform?
Ok, that is more than one question, but a set of crucial ones that form the foundation to everything else.
2. How important is REAL commercial and clinical validation?
For our partners this is extremely important. Moreover, they realize it takes years and hundreds of thousands of patients to truly validate a product. All of the 5,000+ activities on our platform were developed based upon science. Twill’s therapeutic approach, based on the completion of these activities, has been validated across randomized control trials (RCT), real world evidence (RWE), pilot studies, as well as controlled claims-based studies to show impacts on medication activation and mental health.
3. How important is the ability to change health-related behaviors through digital?
The purpose of all activities that patients engage in is to change and improve patient health behaviors such as taking medication or seeing a therapist, being more compliant to their therapy, being more persistent on their therapy, decreasing symptom severity associated with their medical condition, engaging more effectively with their clinicians, getting additional clinical care and support, etc.
4. How important is proven large-scale ROI (10X+)?
Over the course of Twill’s journey, we were fortunate to have clients invest in conducting robust, claimed-based analyses, using matched controls to demonstrate beyond any doubt that we change patient behaviors that deliver positive ROI to the pharma drug as well. This took years and millions of dollars to demonstrate due to the lags in billing, reimbursement, clinical decision making, etc; this is not something that can be achieved in a 6-month pilot. Now each new pharma company may decide to invest the real time and money to do this sort of analysis, or leverage the fact that predecessors have done this to their benefit.
5. How important is branding flexibility and brand trust?
Sometimes our clients prefer only our brand, sometimes they want to co-brand, sometimes they want only their company branding, sometimes only their drug branding—Twill provides flexibility in this regard. However, one consistent thing we find is that patients may not always trust the pharma company to develop and deliver effective digital solutions. Instead they may hold more trust in an established digital health brand. Therefore, many of our pharma partners want to associate their brand with Twill’s to increase patient and HCP trust.
In the dynamic realm of digital health solutions, the choices you make today will define your path forward. Embrace these questions as your guide, and navigate the future of healthcare with confidence and purpose.
About the Author
Chris Wasden As Twill’s Chief Strategy Officer, Chris leads the effort to bring Twill’s digital-led care to the healthcare industry. He’s a former University of Utah professor and Executive Director of the Sorenson Center for Discovery & Innovation. Chris co-authored books on innovation and leadership, holds patents, co-founded startups, and has an EdD from George Washington University and an M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School.