MARKET | Nov 17, 2016

Digital Health calls on data

The centrality of data in a company like Vree Health Italia explained by Gianluca Gigante

Vree Health Italia is an MSD pharmaceutical group company with a distinct mission linked to Digital Healthcare in the context of which it deals in the broadest sense with models for managing patient health. These models place it at the heart of an integrated model involving general practitioners, specialists and other local operators, supported by a qualified services centre and innovative Digital Health ICT technologies for collaboration, communication and governance of management processes.

“The model that we adopt,” says Gianluca Gigante, head of business operations at Vree Health Italia, “allows us to achieve effective management of the patient’s health through delivery of diagnostic and therapeutic adherence programmes, compliance with the personalised care plan (PCP) and patient empowerment activities for the growth of knowledge and awareness of patients about their disease, their health conditions and risk factors. These are all elements that can contribute to better control of evolution of the disease, thereby reducing social costs and creating savings for the National Health System, in the continuous search for operational efficiency.”

Vree Health’s objectives certainly include that of supporting and improving the quality of life of chronic patients who require a “responsible taking charge” of the individual in a multidisciplinary management approach integrated with local services. “We have developed planning and acquired significant experience in the management of major chronic diseases – namely diabetes, hypertension, heart failure and COPD – and we are also working on other therapeutic areas such as rheumatology, nephrology and others,” continues Gigante.

Improving the lives of chronic patients is possible: Vree Health has shown this with scientific rigour, by successfully completing a clinical telemonitoring study of great significance and statistical and clinical importance called RE.MO.TE. (carried out by the parent company MSD Italia), and especially through the experience of the more than 26,000 patients assisted. “Vree Health,” adds Gigante, “is also present and engaged in the Orizzonte CReG project in the Lombardy Region, an innovative organisational model of initiative medicine for the taking charge of chronic patients by general medicine, for which we were awarded the AboutPharma prize as Best Project for institutions and payors and the S@lute 2016 Award“.

What are the benefits compared with the introduction of ERP and CRM systems?

A rapidly changing market requires an extremely flexible business and operational model that is ready for change, and Digital Health solutions require strong integration with the existing ecosystem. For this it is necessary to have a highly customised and sustainable ICT architecture that can be rapidly adapted to change; in our case we chose Microsoft Dynamics AX.

What is the role of data today in the management of a company like yours?

The management of data in a company dedicated to Digital Health can only be strategic. This is especially so for Vree Health because our solutions and services are based on scientific evidence from management and clinical data specifically collected for the patients handled.

This requires the acquisition of management data from multiple sources in a timely and accurate way. The quality of the data (especially from a Big Data point of view) is critical when it comes to managing health. The definition of accurate processes and appropriate control mechanisms for processes and data is therefore a key element.

Has the availability of data as a result of computerisation improved sales processes, and in general brought greater profits? To what extent?

The digitisation of business processes allows an organization to better measure and thus optimise its processes to make them dynamic and prepared for change. In these terms, this approach has turned out to be strategic for Vree Health because it has allowed us in recent years to adapt quickly and effectively to change and in this way seize business opportunities that have been fundamental for our growth.

What are the future developments? How do you think the process of distribution and sale can still be optimised?

For Vree Health, interoperability is the watchword. Optimisation of business processes goes through greater and better integration with those of the client, which is possible only if systems are interoperable. Vree Health continues to invest in this direction, especially in interoperability with the health system as an enabling factor for efficient models of management and provision of health services. Integration among heterogeneous information systems through interoperability opens the door to personalised services for chronic patients. Enrichment of the information content about the patient allows us to analyse risks, behaviour and state of health in order to take specific action in a predictive manner and be able to evaluate outcomes with a view to continuous improvement.

Working in Vree Health means working in a lean, young, dynamic and challenging environment, armed with high scientific and technical expertise and professionalism; but also it means working in a highly challenging, constantly evolving and changing environment that requires more than ever the acquisition and fielding of numerous multidisciplinary skills in the continuous learning and improvement process.

The principle underpinning Vree Health could not be other than that of George Wilhelm Merck in 1950 and which is still alive in MSD and Vree Health: “We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear“. It is with this belief and spirit that we go forward and face each new challenge.