Eisai launches beyond-the-pill cloud collaboration to improve home care in Japan

More and more companies are going “beyond the pill” when it comes to rolling out new products and services that help boost uptake of or compliance with their meds. And Eisai’s the latest to try it.

The drugmaker launched a collaboration in Japan aimed at revolutionizing home care for the elderly. Partner NTT IT is contributing a cloud service to allow doctors, families and caregivers to share patient goals, plans, and medical and lifestyle information; fellow partner NTT East is charged with communications services in that cloud. And Eisai’s role? Support the process by, for instance, setting up meetings on treatment goals.

With the new initiative, Eisai and its partners say they're responding to an unmet need in their home country, where doctors, nurses and families struggle to quickly and accurately share information. With an aging population, Japan sees that problem growing, and the government is promoting “comprehensive community care systems” in response.

Eisai’s team thinks it has a viable solution, and it expects the rollout to “lead to various outcomes including enabling support for long-term home treatment of patients, raising and improving standards for treatment and care, enhancing patients quality of life and comfort, as well as reducing the burden of social welfare expenditure,” it said in a statement.

And it’s already got reason to believe it’ll see success. Eisai and NTT East tested a pilot system between May 2014 and January 2015, and they found that using it to follow up with patients spurred improvements in some patients’ daily living activities and nursing care. The test also showed that the system helped identify and address patients' problems, and that the interactive communication fostered a “sense of unity" for care-team pros.

Eisai is no stranger to treating the elderly. Its flagship Alzheimer's med, Aricept, raked in billions before losing patent protection in 2010, and it's currently working with Biogen to develop new treatments for the disease.

Meanwhile, Eisai’s peers have been working to drum up other "beyond the pill" approaches, exploring ways to listen to patients, improve outcomes and build relationships with payers and patients. As Eisai has, many of them have turned to tech to do it; respiratory players GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim, for example, all recently inked "smart inhaler" partnerships that they hope will help boost drug adherence.

- read the release

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