Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Geisinger Health System have initiated a collaboration to develop healthcare IT programs to improve patient adherence and help primary care physicians identify risk factors for certain diseases.
It’s an unusual move for Merck, because of the structure and duration of the program. Other companies like Janssen and Sanofi have initiated competitions with hospitals and companies to devise ways to reduce healthcare costs.
Cardiometabolic syndrome is first in a pipeline of a dozen ideas that will be reviewed and prioritized by Merck and Geisinger staff. It is a group of risk factors that increase the likelihood of someone getting cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. An interactive Web application under development is intended to help primary care clinicians assess and engage patients at risk for these diseases, a company statement said. This tool will be deployed in a cloud-based environment and will interface with any electronic health record system, according to Geisinger community practice chairman Dr. Thomas Graf who is also the health system’s clinical lead for the program.
The development of tools in the program would take place in an 18-monh timeline adjusted on a weekly basis according to research findings.
Danville, Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System CEO Dr. Glenn Steele Jr. said depending on the performance of the apps, they could be expanded to other hospitals systems.
“A rapid learning process will be used to integrate, evaluate and improve the performance of each solution in primary care clinical settings,” Steele said in the statement. “We will closely monitor patient acceptance, treatment adherence, and other metrics to determine which tools and solutions have the ability to improve patient care and are ready to be deployed on a broader scale.”
Hospitals and digital health companies have been working on programs to solve challenges like reducing readmission rates as components of the Affordable Care Act makes hospitals more accountable for patient outcomes.