Wellthy DTx Circle Podcast: Episode 4 with Jose Maria Guido Avila


Jose Maria Guido Avila

Customer Engagement Transformation Lead
Sanofi Specialty Care Europe



Karine Soulat

VP Marketing at Wellthy Therapeutics


About the Guest

Chema has nearly 20 years of experience in global pharmaceuticals like Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim. He is seen addressing large audience gatherings on topics such as the importance of innovation in pharmaceutical organizations, and the role of different stakeholders in the achieving of the same.

Episode 4 of DTx circle features Jose Maria Guido Avila(Chema), Customer Engagement Transformation Lead at Sanofi. Chema’s work at Sanofi involves working not as a member of a team, but as a leader, inspiring and knitting teams together to select and work towards brand goals that can help them deliver “a personalized experience” to the patients.

Together Karine Soulat and Jose Maria discuss the importance of changing engagement methods for the upcoming generation of doctors, and the possibility of a threefold relationship(the patient, doctor, and pharma) from the adoption of digital health technologies.

From the Pharma Comfort Zone to Engagement with Generation Z

Chema believes that the industry, on the whole, has tendencies of being a laggard while engaging with the customers – patients and HCPs. The traditional model of bringing the brand to doctors has been the sales representative model. A very profitable format indeed! But, as the generations change, the model should evolve as well.

While engaging with doctors from Generation Z, the pharmaceutical companies will have to adopt technology, as most of their generation is driven by technology. Possibly, digital health applications can become the medium for this relationship to prosper. And, that means deviation from where we are at now.

The Chronic + DTx Combo

“I happened to run into DTx as early as last year. I was in the skeptical cohort at first, but then, I happened to read about a digital therapeutic that supported schizophrenia patients and showed positive outcomes.”

Chema opines that for most of the digital therapeutics in the market today, data has to be fed into by the patient, popularly referred to as ePRO’s(electronically patient-reported data). But, to make this process a sustainable one, in the case of chronic diseases where the course of usage is long, the solution has to be presented in a gamified way to reduce the data entry resistance.

The Vanity Metrics Dilemma

Though the organizations are focusing on enabling personalized care, this progress is still slow. Chema opines that the problem that our teams face here is the “vanity metrics” problem – that makes you look good to others but does not help you understand your performance in a way that informs future strategies.

The focus shouldn’t be on increasing numbers of data points by bombarding the patients or doctors with information, but on making sense of the data to help bring the right drug to the market, while ensuring an educated and informed patient. The information from this data will lead to an immersive personalized experience, coming out as a differentiating factor for pharma companies.

The Triangle Relationship

In his conversation with doctors during his thesis, Chema noticed a common line of thought while interviewing doctors, that is, pharmaceutical companies were influencing patients, as to the drugs that need to be administered.

But, regulations are set on the contrary. So, if a patient is misinformed, how can that be fixed?

A dtx can be that bridge that can help patients be better informed than more informed, as that is the need of the hour, while keeping the doctors satisfied that their advised line of treatment is what matters to the patient, at the same time, helping pharma wash off that influencer image. It’s a kind of a triangle relationship.

“A more informed patient doesn’t mean a better-informed patient.”

The Future

Karine and Cheema discuss a future in rare diseases where the platform can be used to create a community and patients can interact with each other, understand their disease better, and feel better mentally.

As more patients will be using the application, and experiencing it together, patients could get their queries answered by those already facing the burden of the disease, helping reduce mental stress.

What do you think of this feature in a digital health solution? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to learn more from Chema?

Chema hosts a youtube channel where a digital version of himself ‘e-Chema’ talks about customer engagement, digital activities, and overall challenges of the pharma industry, you can subscribe to his channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnFI-a-DgTamcQMnPbUJ4ZA

Chema is also a self-taught artist who likes to paint superheroes and Japanese manga in his free time, he posts his art on his Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/geekdrawings13/

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