Accenture-SalesForce collaboration bids to link patient, provider and pharma data streams

Trend toward outcomes-based pharma contracts could be accelerated

The data is out there; the problem is, how to link it effectively so that, for example, an outcomes-based contract, in which the price of a drug depends on how well a patient population responds to it, can be managed. That’s one of the goals being addressed by Accenture Life Sciences, which is now putting into effect a collaboration announced earlier this year with SalesForce, whose SalesForce Health Cloud creates connectivity among EHR (electronic health record) systems

Accenture has been working on a healthcare-IT platform now called the Intelligent Patient Platform (IPP) for about four years, explains Tom Schwenger, a senior managing director at Accenture Life Sciences North America; it also has a longstanding collaborations with SalesForce. In the past couple years, engineering teams at both companies came together to realize that the SalesForce Health Cloud would be an effective way of extending and connecting various IPP applications, such as adherence programs and patient support, with EHR systems at healthcare providers. (Both IPP and HealthCloud exist as separate platforms for their respective companies.) The grand synthesis of all this software and services is to connect patient records of therapies and treatments, with actions taken by healthcare providers for patient support, and perform analytics on both of these in ways that are of interest to pharma companies, such as outcomes-based contracting or other applications. “It’s no secret that the macro shift going on in healthcare is outcomes-based models,” he says. “Pharma needs this closer connection to providers and patients.”

Another potential application is to manage the hub-type services being set up for specialty pharmaceuticals, which require extensive information needs such as completing prior-authorization paperwork, ensuring that necessary lab tests and diagnostics are performed, and rolling up all this data with patient interactions. The difference, though, is that it’s possible for a pharma company to manage all the hub services each brand might need from an enterprise-level platform. “We have interest not only from pharma companies for this, but also some of the bigger hub-services providers themselves, who might be running hundreds of individual therapy programs,” says Schwenger.

Interest in IPP is evenly divided among healthcare organizations (who have their own drivers for outcomes data and “meaningful use” of EHR systems) and pharma companies, says Schwenger. A version of IPP is now coming together for an Accenture client, Boston Scientific, which announced a collaboration with Accenture to build the IT foundation of a service Boston Scientific is offering to healthcare providers: the Advantics Care Pathway Transformation for managing chronic cardiovascular care through a combination of analytics, care management and patient engagement during and after hospitalization. The immediate goal is to reduce hospital readmission, and ultimately to provide more-effective support of patients and caregivers. The program evolved with two hospital systems in Scandinavia (Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden and Tampere Heart Hospital in Finland), and planning for introducing it to the US market is proceeding.