Reclaim The Glory Of Value
Value has become a buzzword, but its importance cannot be overstated. How do we ensure its survival?
The beauty of language lies in the fact that it is personal. The meaning of words is filtered through our own experiences, emotions and motivations.
This is an important point with buzzwords, which are often impersonal and hard to define. However, by discovering what they mean to an individual, you can unpack their importance and find a more concrete definition.
‘Value’ is a word ripe for unpacking. It is bandied around the pharma industry almost as much as patient-centricity, and is undeniably just as important — it has become a core company objective, yet what does it actually mean?
Michelle Carnahan, North America Head of Primary Care Business Unit, Sanofi, has a clear idea of what value means to her. With 26 years of industry experience under her belt, 25 working for Eli Lilly before joining Sanofi, she has had time to mull it over.
Carnahan is quick to define value as something that must be defined by the customer. And true value can only be achieved by understanding the world of the patient and solving the issues most critical to them. In one of the chronic diseases she works in, diabetes, integration is a way to deliver value.
“What is the overall experience, and can we make it better? What is the outcome for that person and can we improve it? We believe we can. Our approach is combining medicines, services, devices and data management to deliver that experience and more importantly the outcome for people with diabetes.”
This integrated approach provides value to providers and payers too, as there are ample opportunities for collaboration.
Teaming up with tech
Collaboration is a prized element of value, she says, citing the joint venture between Sanofi and Verily (Alphabet’s healthcare arm) in the US called Onduo. Its mission is to help people with diabetes live full, healthy lives by developing comprehensive solutions that combine devices, software, and professional care to enable a better experience and outcome for the patient and overall healthcare system.
Earlier this year, the company delivered its first product in the US, a virtual diabetes clinic that provides people with diabetes a way to collect and analyze data from their glucose meters and other sensors; and the ability to interact with a remote care team.
Combined with data from the healthcare system, the virtual clinic can better understand a patient’s health and risk factors, track their progress, measure outcomes and deliver meaningful insights to them and their providers. Medical teams can better understand and contextualize what patients are feeling and improve their ability to make diagnoses even before symptoms appear.
As a result, the patient can receive personalized care more frequently than they would with conventional doctor visits, and independently from where they live. Because the data is collected and transmitted by mobile phone, it also makes diabetes treatment more accessible.
Carnahan sits on the board for Onduo. The value of the partnership lies in the different mindsets and expertise coming together, she says. Working with Verily encourages Sanofi to explore new ideas and processes, while bringing its strong scientific credentials to the table.
Every step of the way
Another key component is focusing on the patient experience, says Carnahan. This is particularly applicable in diabetes, as companies can monitor the disease from the moment a patient is put on insulin, providing tailored solutions throughout their journey.
“After that initial patient interaction, the next one is really understanding how we can help people with diabetes dose better, get the dose they want. For this, we have also launched a pilot for an app which helps with titration and it’s just beginning.”
The goal is to develop a connected pump and pen that is interactive and individual to each patient, says Carnahan. This would fundamentally change the patient and physician experience, and you would gain a much deeper understandingof the value of blood sugar control over time and how to achieve that control. Sanofi is actively pursuing this right now. They are developing a pump with Verily and Sensile Medical and have a connected pen in the pipeline.
Determining what value looks like in terms of uptake, and communicating this to payers remains a challenge, but progress is being made as evidenced by the uptake of Onduo, she says.
Despite the challenges, Carnahan is optimistic. While these technicalities are important, it is ultimately about finding that human connection. That’s what resonates.
“When Mark Zuckerberg was asked, ‘Why do you wear the same color hoodie every day?’, he replied, ‘It’s one less thing I have to think about.’ I often think about how tough it is for people with diabetes because their decisions never end. If I can help them take decisions out of their day, what will that clear their minds up to do?”
Michelle Carnahan will be speaking on the Keynote Session at eyeforpharma Philadelphia on Sanofi’s approach to partnerships. Find out more here.