BioPharma, Hospitals, Health Tech

AstraZeneca lands first big partner for digital health platform

The drugmaker struck a collaboration agreement with Mass General to use its platform for heart failure and asthma management. The health system plans to launch two pilots of the digital health platform. 

As AstraZeneca wades into developing its own digital health tools, it’s bringing on health systems as partners. The company struck its first publicly announced collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Boston-based hospital plans to run two pilot of the platform in a real-world setting to see how it performs in patients with heart failure and asthma. Patients participating in three different multi-disciplinary specialty care services the hospital will be eligible to participate.

The goal is to improve patient outcomes and care coordination while reducing costs, wrote Sara Silacci, chief strategy officer and senior managing director of the MGH Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare, which is leading the collaboration.

“At the end of the day, we both want to solve the same problems in chronic illness management – to make sure the right solution gets to the right patient at the right time in order to improve care,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “We decided to collaborate with AstraZeneca to leverage their robust data with our clinical best practices to accelerate the development of urgently needed solutions for individuals with chronic conditions – to create solutions that are about the patient, not just about the technology.”

Although a plethora of digital health tools are vying for providers’ attention, AstraZeneca is building out a single app that’s intended to address multiple chronic conditions, starting with asthma and heart failure.

Cambridge, U.K.-based AstraZeneca first launched its AMAZE platform last fall. Similar to its digital health competitors, it consists of a patient-facing app and a clinician-facing dashboard, and uses algorithms to alert physicians whether a patient’s prescription or another aspect of their care needs to be adjusted.

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It will be going head-to-head with companies such as Propeller Health, which uses sensors attached to inhalers to monitor users’ asthma or COPD. Meanwhile, remote monitoring startup Biofourmis worked with competitor Novartis to develop a platform to detect early signs of deterioration in heart failure patients.

Silacci wrote that Mass General selected AstraZeneca’s platform for its ability to effectively identify at-risk patients and accelerate evidence-based clinical practice. In the future, they plan to expand the platform to more conditions.

“While there is no precedent for this type of deep relationship, we hope this alliance will serve as a model for future collaboration between pharma and healthcare providers,” Mass General President Dr. Peter Slavin said in a news release.


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