Case study

Identifying patients at risk - a global biopharma company addresses a gap with a new device and Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Client: Global biopharma company

Our Role: A holistic approach to assist our client with creating a cloud-based tool for diagnosing a health risk that is both extremely serious and highly underdiagnosed.

Industry: Pharmaceuticals and life sciences

Services: Forensics, Business and technology fusion, Information Governance, Data and analytics

Solution: Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Client Challenge:

Raising awareness about a highly underdiagnosed, potentially devastating, disorder

A global biopharma company wanted to raise awareness about a condition estimated to affect millions of people. The disease is not rare, yet despite the grave risks associated with the condition, most people who are affected don’t know it. Only about 90% of patients with the disorder are properly diagnosed. To address this serious gap, our client decided to create an awareness site to help healthcare professionals diagnose patients’ risk for the disease. Built around approved diagnostic guidelines, the mobile web application would be classified as a medical device, which required a rigorous certification process. With a patient population across numerous regions, the site would be most impactful with multi-country, multilingual versions. Creating a tool that was easy to access and use could also make a huge difference.

“The global regulatory environment for medical devices and tools is complex and challenging. Effectively coordinating the certification process was as important for the project’s fast launch as developing the web application and resources for the end user. A holistic approach helped fast-track the effort.”

Allissa C. East, Principal, Forensics (Information Governance)

Approach:

A responsive team builds a responsive site

To bring the client’s vision to life, we brought together a team with experience and expertise in healthcare and telehealth services in the global marketplace, enterprise content management, information governance, technology strategy, and the regulatory environment to conduct a market analysis and create a dynamic demo. The Executive VP of Digital Health invited us to join them on this project, with the goal of building, validating and deploying the site in the launch country within six months. We proceeded with “start-up” speed and an agile approach to accelerate time-to-market — an ambitious aim in a complex and highly regulated environment.

We developed the web application, based on the required medical criteria, using recognized web standards and technologies. From the very first iteration, the site was designed to be scalable, and given the audience — busy healthcare providers focused on their patients — focused on the end-user. Cloud-based solutions from AWS such as EC2 and Elastic Load Balancers allowed us to rapidly develop, test, and continuously deploy the application across multiple data centers around the globe with a scalable and resilient architecture addressing regional regulatory needs, and provided secure hosting. Working closely with our client to meet the rigorous timeline, we coordinated the certification and documentation process, created the architecture and installed the software, and launched the first release on deadline. Our PwC team continues to assist with the project, maintaining the site and working with the client to plan future rollouts. The tool is supported through two dedicated data centers.

Impact:

A one-of-its kind tool for healthcare professionals

In just six months, the company created and launched a responsive tool with the potential to impact millions of patients. Following the initial deployment, a new release was rolled out approximately every two months over a period of two years. The application works seamlessly across multiple countries and languages. A Diagnosis Questionnaire and Scoring Algorithm enables healthcare providers to quickly calculate a patient’s risk for the disorder and generate a referral letter to a specialist. The site offers downloadable options and links to educational materials and resources.

Our client has provided physicians and healthcare practitioners with a novel tool to address a health risk that is both extremely serious and highly underdiagnosed.

  • The tool is available to healthcare professionals in 12 countries.
  • The site is accessible in nine languages.
  • The application is mobile, tablet, and desktop friendly with full capabilities on all three platforms. The majority of users access the site via mobile devices.
  • Allows healthcare professionals to generate referral letters and to perform a search to link their patients to appropriate healthcare providers
  • Analytics — with all patient information and specific locations de-identified and protected — enable the company to track and assess how and when the site is used

Contact us

Vitaly Glozman

Partner, PwC US

Allissa East

Principal, PwC US