When Apple announced how the Apple Watch’s new bluetooth API can integrate directly with the Dexcom sensor, Dexcom’s stock enjoyed a 6% jump. Because it connects to the sensor and not an app, there is no loss of communication between the continuous glucose monitor and the Apple Watch—unlike the Dexcom app, which in the case of a connectivity issue, loses data, defeating the purpose of continuous monitoring.

This new API makes consistent data tracking possible, which is why the partnership marks an exciting opportunity for Dexcom. Teaming up innovative tech with their medical device optimizes Dexcom’s product by transforming the Apple Watch into a diabetes wearable for patients who require aggressive or automated glucose tracking.

The marriage between Dexcom and Apple is another in emergent partnerships between medical devices and integrative software to unite life-changing products with cutting-edge technology— enabling better patient outcomes using personalized, customizable care.

Partnering for patient success

At the 54th Congress of the European Renal Association and European Dialysis and Transplant Association in 2017, Baxter released the results of two studies which mapped the patient and clinical results of coupling SHARESOURCE, its cloud-based patient management platform, with their renal therapy HOMECHOICE CLARIA automated PD system. Baxter used the SHARESOURCE platform to monitor their customers with peritoneal dialysis (PD), capturing and analyzing their patient data for adherence and therapy complications, empowering their clinicians to support patient self-management, and preempt critical incidents.

 “‘Baxter’s SHARESOURCE remote patient management system was designed to support patients’ access to PD, with the confidence to perform home therapy knowing their healthcare providers are remotely managing their care,’ said James Sloand, M.D., senior medical director, Baxter. ‘New data show the technology can help healthcare providers achieve this goal because they have timely access to accurate patient therapy adherence data, allowing them to address pertinent clinical issues earlier.’”

Their studies also revealed that the patient management software afforded PD nurses 35% more time to spend proactively engaging with patients, possibly intervening before critical events, and refining clinical management.

Patients reporting on their disease management can create day-to-day improvements to health, deter adverse events, and even save lives. The greater accumulation and analysis of patient data, the clearer the insights device companies have into patient metrics. This in turn perpetuates better support, and inspires device enhancements, while advancing patient-centered care.

The value of innovative partnerships

Device companies have much to gain from real world evidence generated by patient success. As payers insist that costs be transparent, therapeutic efficacy will be scrutinized and companies will need to provide data-driven evidence of patient success to support their value propositions. Integrating patient services not only catalyzes superior patient outcomes, it aggregates a story, which testifies to the brand’s value.

It will take a concerted effort for device makers to shift to value based care models, but with patient support services readily available, the value of their medical device—abetted by support software—is demonstrable.

The benefit for stakeholders

Boston Scientific teamed up with Accenture to monitor patients suffering heart failure in an effort to reduce hospital readmissions after treatment. Beginning with the patient’s initial hospitalization, Boston Scientific used Accenture’s technology to capture real-time insights into patient’s self-management efforts. Post-hospitalization, Boston Scientific could make calculated interventions with patients, educating them on their disease state and therapy, continuing relationships with patients throughout their healthcare journey. 

Using “pathway analytics” to measure cost-efficiency and patient outcomes, Boston Scientific found 25% of the hospital readmissions for heart failure patients could be avoidable, thereby cutting spending for all parties. It was their assessment that “better care coordination, supported by modern technology and process…can decrease overall costs.”

In addition to improving patients’ lives, their disease management achievements benefit the commercial health of the device. Improved patient outcomes reduces additional complications and hospitalizations, driving ROI for device companies, and cost-efficiency for all stakeholders.

For patients who’ve been aided by med tech partnerships greater quality of life may not be quantifiable, but it is the ultimate testament to the holistic value of the partnership.