Interview with Martin Ouwehand, eHealth Manager, Compliance & Quality Indicators at GlaxoSmithKline Europe department CareSolutions.
While GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is widely recognized as ‘the drug manufacturer', their Care Solutions department is also gaining more widespread recognition. This is a positive development, given that GSK is more than just a pharmaceutical company. The department Care Solutions focuses on the patient behind the drug. GSK aims to develop innovative medicines and services that can be used at the right time, in the right way and for the right patient, leading to a sustainable improvement in treatment outcomes with all associated health benefits. By supporting and encouraging care improvement initiatives they are building on a network of strong partners, making quality of life and care a priority. This is the theme around which VitalHealth Software and GSK decided to start a long-term strategic partnership.
Martin Ouwehand and his colleagues form Care Solutions have an important goal: "Innovating with care. This division within GSK aims to improve the quality of care through innovation and by working together, continuously developing in areas such as asthma, COPD, oncology and vaccines." To do this, GSK offers a wide range of care programs, such as eHealth initiatives, developed in cooperation with other parties. "We do this in cooperation with others, because through co-creation you can bring together knowledge, experience, financial resources and manpower and really make a difference in healthcare."
Digital patient coaches
Together with other parties and multiple disciplines, GSK developed digital patient coaches for various chronic diseases. Examples are MyParkinsonCoach, MyAsthmaCoach and MyCOPDcoach. For example, for the substantial development of the COPD coach, primary and secondary care givers from Care group Zorroo, UMC St. Radboud and Amphia Hospital were requested to share their expertise. The Longfonds (Long Fund) was involved for significant input and the Jan van Es Instituut (knowledge center for primary care) took on the validation of designs. "There are many good ideas for eHealth solutions but so many separate initiatives that are ultimately not adopted by caregivers. By joining forces, fragmentation is prevented and ultimately we are able to provide a quality eHealth solution which general practitioners, pulmonologists, POH or nurses can offer to the patient." One example solution that VitalHealth Software and GSK are working on is a self-management platform for cancer patients based on the VitalHealth Platform.
The Pelican Project is an eHealth solution of a very different nature and shows the width of GSK’s eHealth solution range. It was the first project that VitalHealth and GSK started together. "The Pelican Project is a good example of a project that looks at the total care network. For example, what can be improved in the current process?" GSK looks at where they can develop a program to provide added value, for example in the field of IT, prevention or efficiency. Research executed by Radboud UMC has shown that it is often difficult for young children with asthma to express how they feel. One solution is the use of a serious game for determining the severity of asthma. "The game that the Department of Primary Medicine of the Radboud UMC has developed and was validated for the study is not suitable for national implementation in its current form. Through supporting and developing this innovative initiative on the basis of the VitalHealth Platform something is actually being done with the research and the solution is future-proof and scalable. And most importantly, the children are really helped this way."
Collective future orientation
Given the aging population and the shift of care from secondary to primary healthcare and primary to zero care, there is still much room for improvement. With co-creation between GSK and other parties, GSK expects to be able to make additional improvements. Attention must be paid to the (cost) effectiveness in order to provide solutions that for example reduce hospitalizations and exacerbations. To GSK, the quality of life and care are the main focus. "It is important to work together on the future of healthcare. There is a lot of fragmentation because small parties develop solutions themselves and subsequently these solutions do not work well with other IT-systems or other healthcare facilities. It leads to a wild-grow of solutions! eHealth is a good example of a system that, if properly designed, can provide good remote care and contributes to the well-being of the patient. In that case insurers will absolutely consider funding." According to GSK, money, manpower and knowledge have to be linked to be prepared for the future. "There are many good initiatives which should and must be used primarily in the correct manner for the benefit of the patient."
Ouwehand believes that good cooperation is a matter of giving and taking. Minds should be set on the partnership instead of the client - contractor relationship. “VitalHealth and GSK are equal partners because they serve the same purpose: to improve the quality of care. Together we share a lot of opportunities and initiatives, and we both see the importance of working with multiple parties. Delivering good care at lower cost is something VitalHealth can provide with their self-management platform and GSK with their patient coaches. This way we can support both caregivers and patients in remote care." The goal of Ouwehand is less competition and more cooperation, using joint strengths to improve healthcare. "VitalHealth is good at connecting with other systems and is therefore able to make a broad difference in healthcare. It is also scalable in- and outside the Netherlands because VitalHealth has a global focus. This allows GSK programs, which are developed in the Netherlands, to also transfer within a relatively short time to our foreign offices in, for example, Belgium, Western Europe or the Far East."