How is mobile changing the way Pharma operates?

Sameer Mistry At last year’s Mobile Pharma World event, we asked Sameer Mistry, Medical Affairs Lead Immunology, Janssen, how he thinks mobile is changing the way Pharma operates; below are his thoughts.

How is mobile changing the way Pharma operates?

Mobile is dramatically changing the way so many of us live and work, and mobile is clearly beginning to have an impact in healthcare as well. So far Pharma has made some early steps into the mobile arena, mainly in the form of apps for smartphones. This will continue and we’ll probably see more apps developed by Pharma which enable healthcare professionals to better assess disease as well as to better treat disease. Apps for patients are also emerging, helping provide them with more information about their conditions and their treatments, as well as helping with disease monitoring and treatment adherence. All these factors provide Pharma with a great opportunity to be creative and innovative in the way we try to improve health, alongside our traditional model of developing medicines. As technology evolves, I think mobile will also change the way Pharma interacts and communicates with healthcare professionals.

What are the challenges and benefit in producing a point of care app?

We know that a high proportion of healthcare professionals (HCPs), especially doctors, own smartphones, and this will continue to increase. By their very nature, these phones are carried by the HCP all the time so if you create and successfully market a great app, it’s very easy for a HCP to use it at the point of care– it doesn’t require them to carry any additional equipment. Many apps perform in a matter of seconds tasks that normally take a long time, or perform tasks that previously would require additional, sometimes costly, equipment. In fact a HCP can carry an almost unlimited number of useful apps, or tools, in their pocket. This has a huge potential to improve health outcomes all over the world. Apps which improve diagnosis and assessment of a disease clearly benefit those who have the disease, those who treat the disease and those who create treatments for that disease.

As with all new technological developments, there are challenges as well as benefits. One challenge is that many apps meet the definition of a medical device, and as such they need to go through the regulatory approval process. This is clearly new territory for Pharma, but it’s a also new territory for the regulatory authorities too. We all need to understand this process better so that those developing apps know how they should navigate this process, and so that HCPs and patients can be confident that an app has been tested appropriately and shown to work correctly, providing them with correct advice and information. I think a collaborative, consultative approach involving users, regulators and app developers will be the best way forward.

This year’s Mobile Pharma World event will be taking place in London between 8-11th October. The conference will showcase industry best practice and solutions to the challenges that face pharma in their quest to successfully utilise and integrate mobile technologies into their marketing and sales strategies. Keep your eyes peeled for further information.


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