The combination of rapidly advancing life science innovation and emerging digital technologies just might create some of the most promising opportunities for healthcare in the near-term. As a leader who operates at the intersection of these two disciplines, Patrick Dey, vice president of Digital Health and Innovation at Amgen, has a unique view into this evolving landscape. Here’s his take on how the mash-up of digital and life science innovation could begin to change healthcare for the better.
What’s your role at Amgen?
As the vice president of Digital Health and Innovation at Amgen, I am responsible for shaping and advancing Amgen’s digital health and technology strategy. My team strives to position Amgen as the therapeutic leader of choice for patients through the discovery, development, and application of emerging digital solutions. These technology solutions—in collaboration with others—can help unlock new insights to bring novel therapies to the patients who need them. They can also help prevent and treat disease in a more agile and personalized way.
How is Amgen differentiating itself in the digital technology space?
Amgen is a clear leader in scientific innovation, and our company is unique in that we look for novel ways—beyond drug development—to expand affordable access, transform treatment innovation and delivery, and ensure that we co-create a sustainable healthcare ecosystem with collaborators. Digital health is a big part of that overall vision.
Founded 40 years ago, Amgen was an early leader in the biotechnology revolution, and we are once again trailblazers by combining life sciences with data analytics as we enter the next era of digital transformation.
Is there a program or initiative that Digital Health and Innovation is currently involved with that you are particularly excited about?
I’m proud to share that Amgen launched a study called HF-eVOLUTION in collaboration with several major academic groups and healthcare providers, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Inova Heart and Vascular Institute, and others, using digital solutions like wearable devices and sleep monitoring tools to help physicians use real-time data to improve treatment decisions for patients with heart failure.
Currently, about 6.5 million adults in the U.S. have heart failure, which is a contributing factor in 1 out of every 8 deaths, costing our healthcare system $30.7 billion every year. What’s more, studies of patients with heart failure have shown that adherence to evidence-based therapy is less than optimal, and that treatment guidelines are slowly adopted and inconsistently applied. Digital technology, by cultivating the link between providers and patients, can improve outcomes through improved time-to-decision—and through guideline-directed heart failure therapy.
Our aspiration is for physicians to make better informed decisions and provide heart failure patients with more personalized treatment options that can happen in real time, using data gathered from wearable devices and other biosensors, including heart rate, blood pressure and activity.
What is driving digital health? How does a global biotech company like Amgen fit into the digital health ecosystem?
In recent years, we have witnessed health and technology converging in really exciting—and sometimes disruptive—ways.
What major industry has yet to be transformed by technology? Healthcare. We’ve been asking the same questions since I first joined biotech 16 years ago: How can healthcare be better, faster, easier, and more affordable? Digital technology offers us new possibilities to improve the lives of patients and fundamentally change this untapped market called healthcare.
Consider how much information we have today about every person. For example, 80% of doctors now use electronic tablets. How many of you have used a smartwatch that can count the number of steps you take and your heart rate each day? The internet of things means we have a vast treasure trove of data that can be analyzed.
What if we could predict and prevent disease based on your personal genetic makeup? Digital technology can make it possible for us to live longer, healthier lives. Amgen Digital Health and Innovation is working with collaborators to use new data and data analytics techniques to achieve better outcomes for patients.
Amgen is leading the way to work with collaborators and advance technologies to improve how we serve patients and improve lives. No one stakeholder can revamp the entire healthcare system. Sustainable system change requires a collaborative, integrated approach.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Over my career, I’ve been able to work across a number of industries. I’ve seen how advancements in technology have dramatically changed what’s possible. I’ve also been a patient—a routine screening uncovered a serious, but treatable heart condition, likely saving my life. So I am inspired by those experiences: thinking about what’s possible—and what it could mean to a patient and their loved ones.
The healthcare industry has been relatively slow to adopt technology while arguably having the greatest opportunity to leverage digital health and AI in a globally impactful way. I’m proud to be in a position where—working with the right collaborators—my team and I can help move the needle on improving health outcomes through better prevention and treatment.