Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
Boehringer Ingelheim has partnered with a US digital health management company to study a web and smartphone-based lifestyle programme in type 2 diabetes.
It will combine digital coaching and wireless glucose meters to evaluate their effects on lifestyle changes, glucose control and medication adherence.
The move is part of the pharma company's plans to go 'beyond the pill', said Bert Tjeenk-Willink, a member of Boehringer's board of managing directors.
"We have to pursue a new approach to see the patient with all his or her aspirations but also limitations,” he said.
“We need to find suitable answers that will benefit not only the patients and their family but also the whole society in so far that healthier patients lead a more satisfactory life and can contribute to society for longer."
In the future the company would, Tjeenk-Willink added, engage in many more initiatives of this kind.
For this study Boehringer partnered with Massachusetts-based digital health management company Healthrageous, whose technology is based on work by offshoots from Harvard Medical School.
The programme's goal is to use technology to produce an easier and more effective way for patients to self-manage their diabetes.
Study participants, who must have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for at least six months, will be given a personalised action plan with health behaviour improvement goals and biometric feedback to demonstrate goal achievement and milestones.
Meanwhile, digital coaching will give them recognition and incentives for progress and there will also be medication reminders and social networking support.
Healthrageous' president and CEO Rick Lee said: “Innovations in machine learning and technology offer the opportunity to create and deliver a unique experience for each person with type 2 diabetes.
“Our digital diabetes platform will help us to better understand what motivates individuals to become and remain engaged in self-managing their health. We are delighted to be working with Boehringer Ingelheim on this first-of-its-kind evaluation of the promise that digital technology holds in stemming the type 2 diabetes epidemic.”
For its part Boehringer said it hopes to better understand what motivates patients with type 2 diabetes to become and remain engaged in self-managing their health.
“In [the] future patients with certain diseases, especially chronic ones, should be treated in a more holistic approach beyond drug treatment only,” the pharma company said.
The company is still, of course, also focused on drug treatments for diabetes. Its fixed-dose combination drug Jentadueto (linagliptin and metformin) won CHMP backing in Europe in May and was launched in the US in March. Meanwhile Boehringer's new SGLT2 drug empagliflozin will be filed next year.