Digital Health: Partnering to Improve Outcomes

Eli Lilly and Company  | December 9, 2020

Combining today’s most advanced digital technologies with scientific innovation can contribute to better health. It can provide personalized, actionable insights and self-management solutions for patients, as well as create new channels of engagement between patients and their health care providers (HCPs).

Adopting Digital Health

The need to adopt digital health accelerated in 2020, partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is HCPs encouraging people with chronic conditions to use digital services like telehealth to continue their care while social distancing and stay-at-home orders are in place. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in the first quarter of this year, telehealth visits increased 50% compared to the same period in 2019. This has made it easier for patients to connect with their HCPs during a global pandemic.

While digital services helped connect patients and health care provides, digital technologies, like devices and wearables, put more control in the hands of people by making important health information readily available.

Partnering for Progress

But to truly realize the full potential for digital health, collaboration among players from the health care ecosystem – such as the pharmaceutical industry (or pharma), HCPs and hospital systems – along with technology and data experts will be critical. At Lilly, we’ve had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with diverse technology and data companies to build upon great ideas so that we can ultimately advance solutions to the people who need them.

For example, we collaborated with Apple, Inc. and Evidation Health on an early-stage feasibility study demonstrating that an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and the Beddit sleep monitoring device, in combination with digital apps, may be able to differentiate people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild Alzheimer's disease dementia.

In the diabetes space, we established partnerships with leading diabetes technology companies such as Dexcom and Ypsomed, to integrate their technologies into the solutions we are creating to improve diabetes management.

In addition to collaborations with established companies, Lilly, along with many other pharma companies, hosts innovation challenges as one way to uncover new ways of using technology to make life better. These challenges provide low-risk ways to work together on solutions that are key for innovation. HealthVoyager was the winner of our 2019 challenge in the area of inflammatory bowel disease. Learn more about this challenge by listening to the episode about it on our Elixir Factor podcast. And the winner of our most recent challenge, Bowhead Health, developed a solution to help people living with atopic dermatitis.

Looking for Future Partners

Lilly is eager to advance some of the digital health work already underway and looks for innovative companies to partner with on a regular basis. Specifically, Lilly is interested in collaborating with digital health startups in the areas of sensors and devices that support recording data, as well as in solutions that help patients in our focus therapeutic areas, including immunology, neurodegeneration, pain, cancer and diabetes.

Opportunities to partner are endless, and Lilly will continue its journey along with collaborators and partners to help achieve our purpose of making life better for people around the world.