January 13, 2022

2022 Pharma Marketing Trend to Watch: Digital Medicine

Person checking rings on Apple watch

At the crossroads of computer technology and drug development, digital therapeutics have become a fully-fledged part of healthcare and a full competitor to traditional medications.

As the industry organization Digital Medicine Society defines it, digital medicine is the use of technology for measurement and intervention in service of human health. This can include the use of wearables in clinical trials, or as therapy alternatives or adjuncts. Some even include the use of digital-mediated care, such as telehealth, in this definition.

“While wearable technologies are not new, we’re seeing, and expecting, increased pharma partnership with them,” says Sean Hartigan, SVP, Strategic Planning, Intouch Group. “It’s being demonstrated more and more that we can improve patient health through ongoing monitoring. Pharma alliances with wearable providers offer a new service and a health benefit. There’s also the potential for associated increased brand equity in these partnerships.”

While wearable technologies are not new, we’re seeing, and expecting, increased pharma partnership with them. ~ Sean Hartigan, SVP, Strategic Planning, Intouch Group.

Digital Medicine in the Healthcare Space
Apple and Johnson & Johnson announced plans to team up on a new study of whether Apple Watch can detect atrial fibrillation in seniors and encourage them to seek medical help.

In February 2020, clinicaltrials.gov showed ~460 wearables studies underway — and, according to Kaiser Associates and Intel, 70% of clinical trials will incorporate some type of wearable sensors by 2025. Further, 38% of U.S. adults say they would spend a lot of money on wearable technology that detects potential health issues.

In August 2021, the Mayo Clinic published results of a study demonstrating that remote patient monitoring of thousands of COVID-19 patients across the country lowered rates of hospitalization and mortality. These findings have been reflected in similar studies, including one from Kaiser Permanente.

The Veterans Health Administration (the VA) credits its own decades-long experience building and running the “business, clinical, and technical infrastructure” of “one of the largest remote patient monitoring programs in the United States” with its ability to care for more than 23,500 veterans.

Taking Action
“Where does pharma fit in digital therapeutics? Sponsorships, partnerships, open innovation — just to name a few ways,” says Alex Kareotes, Director, Media & Innovation, Intouch Solutions. “We can work to bridge the gap between pharma and tech in healthcare. Furthermore, we have an opportunity to leverage the results of outcomes research that uses digital therapeutics to provide better care together.”

Contact your Intouch team to discuss how this trend – or any of the others in our annual forecast, “What Matters Most: The Trends That Will Shape Pharma Marketing in 2022” – can be addressed for your brands in the coming year.