How Health Care Is Digitally Adapting to Provide Safety and Security During and After the Pandemic

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Power of Ideas

How Health Care Is Digitally Adapting to Provide Safety and Security During and After the Pandemic

Author(s)
Kabir Nath
Kabir Nath
(President and CEO, Otsuka USA)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences beyond the spread of the disease itself and the efforts to mitigate its reach, including socioeconomic implications that have upended livelihoods, disrupted daily living, and increased the already substantial burden on emotional health and well-being—the impact of which will likely continue for years to come.

A fundamental cornerstone of human health is the belief that healthy living and optimal outcomes in life are anchored in two basic emotional needs: safety and security. COVID-19, with its rippling effects and varying levels of uncertainty, has shaken this foundation and destabilized many aspects of our lives, from our work and home environments to the management of our personal health. In this new reality, we must deliver solutions that reaffirm the fulfillment of those basic needs so that people can prosper and continue to lead meaningful lives. This can only be done by creating an environment of trust, equity, and inclusion across the corporate enterprise so that diverse ideas and a higher level of collaboration can spawn innovation and address the challenges people face daily.

We stand at a critical point in the evolution of health care and have the opportunity to advance the delivery of care in the face of, and perhaps because of, the impact the pandemic has wrought on the conventional approach to health.

In the wake of this pandemic, it is paramount that we, as corporate leaders in health care, commit to providing a safe and secure work environment for the well-being of our employees. By doing so, we ensure they are set up for success and enabled to address the unmet needs of the patient communities we collectively serve. It is the responsibility of us all to adapt and continuously assess the needs of our workforce and comply with international, federal, and state agencies to make appropriate decisions regarding returning to offices, research labs, or the field. Comprehensive safety measures must be implemented to help educate and update all employees about the coronavirus so that we can help to reduce its impact and mitigate future spread.

The ongoing effects of the pandemic have also forced us all to rethink, adapt, and innovate the delivery of health care in ways we could not have imagined just months ago. The need for social distancing and lockdowns have kept people with chronic conditions, such as mental illness, from being seen by their health-care providers (HCP). This puts the patient and the HCP therapeutic alliance under stress and at risk for compromised care.

On the bright side, this situation has placed a spotlight on the emerging importance of digital tools and telemedicine. These important innovations can bridge the care management gap between patient and HCP by enabling remote and virtual monitoring of disease factors and data, ensuring critical information is available for care consistency, thus providing and even strengthening the patient and HCP therapeutic alliance. We stand at a critical point in the evolution of health care and have the opportunity to advance the delivery of care in the face of, and perhaps because of, the impact the pandemic has wrought on the conventional approach to health.

At Otsuka, our commitment to innovation led to the development of the ABILIFY MYCITE® System, the first FDA-approved, technology-enabled medicine system to track drug ingestion. Abilify MyCite® (aripiprazole tablets with sensor) is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder for acute manic and mixed episodes, maintenance therapy, and the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder. We believe Abilify MyCite® may be a welcome option in a new era of greater engagement and collaboration among the patient, their physician, and caregivers, with the individual patient and his/her specific data becoming an important part of the treatment plan. It is this vision that we believe will inspire continued innovation across the health-care industry in addressing the behavioral health needs of patients and more broadly across the entire health-care delivery chain.

Safety and security can only exist when our society, as a whole, has access to the innovative research, resources, and interventions that can improve public health, especially in underserved communities. The global economic downturn underscores the need to enhance programs and charitable efforts to address social determinants of health that greatly impact the well-being of our communities. 

History has shown us how past pandemics have reshaped societies in profound ways. COVID-19 is no exception as we, with humility, unite to serve the needs of others before our own and establish a safe and secure environment that allows for a meaningful life for all. 

Published September 2, 2020