Smart autoinjectors help patients better manage their medication and stay on top of their health. In fact, smart autoinjectors can play a critical role in a larger connected health strategy to improve the everyday management of chronic health conditions while also driving sustainability. Read our blog.
As the medical device and pharmaceutical industries move forward to adopt Connected Health technologies and platforms, it will be critical to providing patients and providers with a comprehensive and innovative strategy to deliver a seamless series of connected devices to accommodate different pharmaceutical delivery formats to manage chronic conditions and certain acute diseases. Nearly half of all adults manage at least one chronic illness,[i] and these figures are expected to grow with increasingly aging populations.
Adherence to medication regimens is critical to the management of symptoms and effects of chronic conditions. When patients do not take medications as prescribed, it can lead to emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and adverse health outcomes. Financial costs of medication non-adherence are variable and totaling as much as US$ 43,000 in per-patient costs for unexpected treatment stemming from failure to take medication as prescribed.
Autoinjectors are a critical device platform for treating chronic health conditions, allowing for the delivery of medications to treat diabetes, certain cardiovascular diseases, and mental health conditions.[ii] Behind oral drug delivery, injectables are the most frequently used pharmaceutical delivery format, with over 16 Billion injections being delivered each year globally.[iii] Autoinjectors with Connected Health capability (i.e., Smart Autoinjectors) assist patients in better managing medication for chronic health conditions to ensure they not only take medication on time but take it correctly. By providing a means of connecting Autoinjectors to the physician, patients may receive dosing reminders, interact with adherence tracking software, and receive education regarding their chronic health condition and the medications. With Smart Autoinjectors, physicians may also be better able to monitor patient conditions and make earlier treatment decisions to improve patient outcomes. In turn, Connected Health technology in a Smart Autoinjector platform diminishes the uncertainty in treatment cost, saving tens of thousands of dollars, per patient, in unexpected medical expenses.
Sustainability in the Pharmaceutical Industry
While there is growing recognition of the need for Connected Health capability in Autoinjectors, there is simultaneous confirmation of the need to improve sustainability in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, particularly once Connected Health capability is incorporated into Autoinjectors. Recognizing the need to reduce waste and improve sustainability, the pharmaceutical industry has developed critical goals to improve sustainability by 2025.[iv],[v] Sustainability targets include not only environmental parameters but also financial, social, and equity parameters.[vi] It is incumbent on the device industry to develop technologies to meet these goals while also innovating for a future that includes widespread Connected Health capability.
Semi-Reusable Connected Autoinjectors
The medical device industry is a notoriously high waste industry, and pharmaceutical and medical device companies are increasingly concerned with improving the sustainability of their product profiles. Consequently, there is a movement toward leveraging reusable devices, where it’s possible and safe to do so. Because of the widespread use of Autoinjectors for pharmaceutical delivery, improving the sustainability of this device format is essential to improving overall product sustainability.
Smart Autoinjectors that are semi-reusable strike a meaningful balance between sustainability and product safety. These devices leverage a cartridge containing the electronics for both pharmaceutical delivery and Connected Health components that can be reused for up to two years and a disposable injection cassette discarded with each use. By reusing a significant portion of the device, Smart Autoinjectors improve overall product sustainability by (i) reducing waste throughout the product lifecycle (ii) reducing patient and payer cost in both unexpected medical care and per-use cost for the device (iii) improving equality in Healthcare by improved physician access.
Currently, research has revealed comparatively little work linking sustainability to product innovation within the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, while using a semi-reusable Smart Autoinjector with Connected Health functionality is expected to improve overall product sustainability, leading innovators on this device format will need to drive research to ensure proposed designs deliver the promised outcomes. As the industry looks toward product innovations like Smart Autoinjectors, it is important to generate comprehensive and meaningful data to establish improvements to waste reduction throughout the product lifecycle, cost reduction outcomes for both patients and payers, and improvements to healthcare access and patient health.
Semi-reusable Smart Autoinjectors are one piece of a much larger Connected Health strategy, allowing for ongoing dialogue between physician and patient in real-time for the day-to-day management of chronic health conditions. Linking connected Smart Autoinjector platforms to on-body injectors that offer an alternative to visiting medical facilities for clinical support of injection will be an essential step toward continuity of care in a Connected Health model, ensuring maximum impact to improving patient lives. Phillips-Medisize is working closely with the medical community to introduce a Smart Autoinjector platform that demonstrates substantial progress toward this powerful goal.
[i] “Chronic Diseases in America”, https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm, accessed Jun 9, 2020.