The world is becoming increasingly dependent on digital services. With the challenges of ageing populations and rising healthcare costs, companies are looking to revolutionise the way patient care is delivered, developing new technologies to support the delivery of advanced medical treatment as well as healthcare professionals.
Over the last 10 years, the diabetes market has undergone considerable growth. A metabolic disorder which affects the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, there are over 59mn people living with diabetes in the Europe alone, which is only set to rise. With over 415mn patients globally (source: IDF Diabetes Atlas), figures have been predicted to almost double within the next 25 years.
Today, approximately 10% of the healthcare costs are invested in the diabetes market. Increased obesity rates and sedentary lifestyles are leading factors in the increase in cases of Type 2 Diabetes. The exponentially increasing number of Type 2 Diabetes patients and the treatment of diabetes-related co-morbidities leads to increased spending, and highlights the need for new healthcare models to tackle such challenges head on. This will be through utilising digital health technologies in order to support the detection, diagnosis and therapy of this chronic condition, and provide continuous diabetes self-management support.
Roche Diabetes Care is one such company that seeks to create innovative products and solutions to drive and advance the provision of effective diabetes care. The company’s 40-year experience has led it to effectively empower both healthcare professionals and patients, and enabled it to demonstrate how the adoption of digital health solutions brought already a multitude of advantages to patients, healthcare professionals and healthcare systems.
With this in mind, Roche Diabetes Care’s decision to enter a five-year partnership with Accenture has signified its ambitions to build a new leading digital diabetes ecosystem, which will give the company the ability to analyse and categorise data through the use of algorithms that can be transformed into key insights that contribute to better and faster therapy adaptations. Such insights will not only encompass patient needs and behaviours, but also all relevant health parameters from various sources that are analysed and put into context in order to eventually improve therapy outcomes.
“We need to integrate a lot of information and a lot of data to ensure an optimal treatment of this complex chronic disease,” explains Roche Diabetes Care’s Chief Digital Officer Yan Beynon. “With this new platform, we aim for health data that will provide better insights, enable informed therapy decision making for people with diabetes and their caregivers on a daily basis and deliver cost efficiencies for the healthcare systems.”
“Digital health is growing as the market is now shifting towards an outcome based, patient centric model,” adds Zeynep Waelchli, Managing Director at Accenture. Behind a large number of digital transformations and implementation of cloud solutions, she explains: “The best enabler is digital transformation, so we are making investments to support the digital growth of our clients and support health outcomes, in the delivery of patient care.”
Roche Diabetes Care plans to grow its digital diabetes ecosystem on a global scale, embedding Accenture’s modular and scalable Intelligent Patient Platform (IPP). Specifically designed to deliver exceptional digital health solutions, both parties will adopt an agile approach in order to respond to any potential changes which could impact the development of the platform. “The industry is changing rapidly and we cannot afford to stay monolithic,” adds Waelchli.
Accenture’s IPP is a fully cloud based solution, garnering access to a real-world data repository of over 50mn electronic medical records. The new platform will therefore grow in line with Roche Diabetes Care’s vision, and give the company the ability to scale quickly. “This is one advantage which the IPP is bringing,” says Waelchli. “It is bringing scalability, because Roche Diabetes Care wants to support patients and caregivers 24-7, which is going to be enabled through our cloud based provisioning.
“Further, it is not only the patient who may need to access this information. This solutions also grants doctors greater and remote visibility so they can make more informed decisions and, as a result, consult better.”
“Speed will matter,” adds Beynon. “Of course, when you pioneer things you need to be quick, which is why we chose Accenture, because we wish to be fast and scale quickly. I’m convinced that we are delivering the right thing for the patient and for society.
“With Accenture, the company has the key enabler for the integration that we need immediately. We don’t need to build, we don’t need to buy, and it will completely enable our strategy of integrating, collecting and computing in this area.”
Beynon continues: “We want to create an open digital diabetes ecosystem, and become the largest leading digital ecosystem out there,” Beynon says. With plans to complete the project in phases, RDC’s data will first become integrated with the data surrounding its existing standalone solutions.
“In phase two, we will start to connect our partners and integrate further information, which will support the development of patient services. So, the first step is implementation, but the second step will be to grow with the partnerships around the ecosystem,” Beynon adds.
To support this further, RDC has also recently acquired the company mySugr, offering the leading diabetes management app solution with more than 1 million users worldwide. The acquisition enables Roche Diabetes Care to broaden essential access to innovative solutions to a large number of registered users who use the app to track their blood sugar levels, medication and activity levels. It will now effectively deliver the front-end of Roche Diabetes Care digital diabetes ecosystem, where sophisticated analytics will enable the company to gain essential insights to drive future innovations and support business growth.
Such advances will encompass a multitude of benefits for healthcare professionals. With information readily available through this cloud based solution, it will reduce the time taken for professionals to source and analyse the required data, in order to make informed decisions. Data can be shared with medical professionals in real-time, enabling the ability for the delivery of better care outcomes, and will also increase engagement between medical professionals and patients, supporting positive outcomes.
However, with a number of healthcare organisations being subject to cyber-attacks, data security has become an increasing priority in the development of this new platform. Accenture has placed significant focus in this area, where its IPP architecture has been shaped to counteract such challenges. “It is a HYDRA certified environment, providing encrypted data which is a very important element for Roche and for the patient,” comments Waelchli. The digital diabetes ecosystem will ensure compliance with all data security regulations, which will be consistently evaluated at Roche Diabetes Care to ensure it remains on top of all future requirements.
This five-year partnership will enable both Roche Diabetes Care and Accenture to go on a journey together in the development of a digital health solution and support diabetes management on a global scale. “I think one important point is that Accenture is aligned with Roche Diabetes Care’s strategy and is duly committed to making this a success,” concludes Waelchli. “Both companies have embarked on this journey to create this digital ecosystem together and bring better solutions to the entire digital health industry. From our point of view, we are looking forward to making this a reality.”
“We are pioneers in what we want to do here, specifically within the area of diabetes,” agrees Beynon. “Other industries might be different, but for diabetes, I don’t think anybody is doing what we are doing at the moment.”