AstraZeneca's Amaze platform aims to simplify chronic disease management—and put patients and docs on same page

AstraZeneca's Amaze digital app expects to cover most chronic conditions by the end of the year. (AstraZeneca)

Only 3% of care for chronic conditions happens in a clinical setting. The other 97% happens outside the office when the patient is in the driver’s seat.

That’s why AstraZeneca developed Amaze, a digital platform built from the ground up to simplify chronic disease management for patients and doctors—and help close the gap between the two.

“It actually drives operational efficiencies, because physicians can bring in patients when they need to bring them in versus the typical protocol," Karan Arora, AstraZeneca’s chief commercial digital officer and global vice president, said. “Now they can see, for instance, that a patient discharged 10 days later is presenting risk. So they can say, ‘Let's bring them in now,’ versus thinking that patient doesn't present any risk.”

Launched in mid-March, the platform's first real-world test debuts this week at Massachusetts General Hospital. The healthcare system is putting Amaze through clinical studies in heart failure and asthma—two diseases in AstraZeneca's wheelhouse—before deciding whether to deploy it more broadly.

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The partnership between pharma company and academic medical center is key to developing the platform, Arora said. It's designed to share information across the various health teams looking after the patient, keeping everyone in the loop.

“We're working with one of the most paramount academic systems in the U.S., and their input into co-designing it so it seamlessly integrates into the workflow of the clinicians, and then our expertise in the therapeutic areas is sort of the winning sauce,” he said.

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Of course, it's not easy to deploy a new tech platform. Elderly patients who may not be tech-savvy are one challenge, but so are patients who don’t have smartphones or internet service at home. AstraZeneca is thinking about ways to rectify that, including working with local governments, but those talks are still in early stages.

For now, Amaze focuses on asthma and heart failure. By the end of the year, it plans to activate other chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and renal disease, Arora said. AZ is currently subsidizing the platform to healthcare providers. But long-term, the company aims to turn it into a prescription-based service, with payers covering the cost.

Arora says the goal is to “deliver disproportionately better outcomes for these patients. If you can prove that, I think then we have something that could potentially change the way care is delivered across the U.S. because it'll be more efficient and it'll be more accessible.”