While increasing collaboration between payers and providers was a major theme at HIMSS in Orlando last week, one other major stakeholder has been quite a bit harder to find in conversations about big data, ACOs, and digital health. As Forbes columnist David Shaywitz wrote yesterday, pharma has been noticeably hesitant to jump into the fray.
At Merck however, a dedicated innovation group called Merck Medical Information and Innovation (M2i2) has been quietly working for a year and a half on building partnerships with providers, EMR vendors, and startups to explore some of the possibilities of digital health, as well as how accountable care is changing the healthcare system.
“We think that there’s a transformation that’s waiting to happen,” M2i2 Director Aman Bhandari told MobiHealthNews. “Some people say ‘The work that you’re doing, population health, that seems like the work of delivery systems. That seems like the work of payers or plans.’ Ultimately, we see a major convergence happening in terms of goals and outcomes and we see a real systemwide refocusing on values and outcomes measurement as the central theme that’s driving everyone across the industry. We think there’s an extraordinary opportunity for pharma to have a seat at the table that it hasn’t had before and we’re hoping to give it that.”
M2i2 recently published a Slideshare describing some of the partnerships it has embarked on over the past year and a half. Most involve funding research projects, but some get Merck scientists involved to a varying degree. One example is the partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital to study insomnia through Facebook and Twitter feeds, which we wrote about last week. Keep reading>>