Microsoft and J&J Partner for Digital Surgical Solution Building

J&J will apply Microsoft’s cloud to its various medical applications and services to create a uniform software platform for HCPs.

Johnson & Johnson’s Medical Device Companies (JJMDC) is working with Microsoft to expand the company’s digital surgery platforms. Currently, JJMDC offers multiple medical applications and services that will be combined with Microsoft’s cloud. The goal is to create a unified platform that contains workflow software for healthcare professionals as well as patient-targeted services, spanning the entire spectrum of the company’s offerings. This includes everything from exercise apps that prepare patients for surgery to robotically controlled hardware that carry out surgical procedures to rehabilitation programs for post-surgical patients.

While JJMC has built world class surgical robotics, instrumentation, advanced imaging and visualization, data and analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digital solutions, the tools can only make a clinical difference for patients if there is connectivity with, and between, all elements of the ecosystem with a seamless, interconnected network that meets surgeons where they are in their workflow and patients where they are in their healthcare journey.

Larry Jones, Group CIO and Global Vice President for Medical Devices at Johnson & Johnson, said in a statement. “It brings together our collective expertise and is an exciting step towards creating a connected patient journey across the entire care continuum, before, during, and after a procedure.”

The deal also allows JJMC to take advantage of the Microsoft Azure tool, which will use AI, data insights, and machine learning to personalize patient care and improve the connectivity and intelligence of the digital ecosystem. Both companies are leading the trend of digital integration with medical devices and intend to increase the pace of digital innovation and transformation across the JJMDC digital surgery ecosystem using Azure capabilities and services.

THREAD Acquires New Partner in Clinical Design

THREAD is a leading technology and service provider focused on enabling electronic clinical outcome assessments (eCOA) and decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) that has already made their studies 30% more efficient and five times more inclusive and diverse. Having acquired Modus Outcomes in 2021, a research consultancy that supports selection of eCOA and scientific delivery of DCTs, THREAD announced the new acquisition of inVibe, the leading voice-powered research and insights technology solution for the life sciences and healthcare industry.

Responding to the growing complexity of clinical trial delivery and real-world research, the company is set to bring the patient voice into research studies in one platform. These new voice-powered offerings are especially important for providing actionable intelligence as studies focus on real-time experiences and require patient insights and feedback to be incorporated into clinical research.

John Reites, CEO of THREAD stated, “inVibe adds capabilities to the THREAD platform that allow us to integrate the power of voice into clinical research. This will help us as we seek to create the best possible trial experiences for participants and all other study stakeholders. The ability to analyze and integrate data from listening technology is currently missing from other top players in the industry. We are moving the needle when it comes to delivering adaptive, patient-centered research experiences.”

THREAD’s new related offerings include integrated recruitment services that enable all healthcare stakeholders to participate in quantitative and qualitative research with minimal friction; technology to directly capture the voices of the participant and healthcare professionals to enhance research programs; analysis from trained linguists to leverage advanced natural language processing software and voice analysis for experiences reported directly by the research patient; as well as real-time data, dynamic dashboards, interactive listening sessions, and reports with actionable insights, enabling immediate and informed decision-making.

All inVibe employees, including co-founders, and offices will join the global THREAD team.

CrowdPharm Partners with Medical Education Leader

Mike Myers, Managing Director of CrowdPharm.

The global healthcare agency announced a new partnership with Avlis International, a global meetings and medical education company, aimed at developing branded communications for physicians and specialty pharma.

“Our goal has always been to develop innovative programs and events that will generate interest and engagement,” Sue Silva, Chief Executive Officer, Avlis International, said in a statement. “We understand healthcare providers have endless choices when it comes to consuming medical content. We strive to create dynamic programming options that foster learning in unique and effective ways. Partnering with CrowdPharm gives us the ability to provide a comprehensive suite of creative services that will ultimately help our clients, and physicians, better connect with those they serve.”

Avlis brings experience in evidence-based educational platforms, both virtual and in-person, that help clinicians make appropriate treatment decisions. CrowdPharm will use the company’s expertise and technology to work directly with pharma and biotech companies in helping HCPs improve patient outcomes. “Avlis is a global leader in executing medical education events, from national sales meetings to product launches to KOL roundtables,” stated Mike Myers, Managing Director of CrowdPharm. “We are excited to work with them and thrilled to be able to continue to enhance the value that we can offer our clients.”

Medicare Plan Restricts Access to Aduhelm

CMS announced it will restrict Medicare coverage of Aduhelm to clinical trials.

Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, has been debated about in regards to price and effectiveness, causing Medicare to draft a restrictive coverage policy for all medications in its class. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), servicing a majority of the elderly population suffering from Alzheimer’s, recently proposed a National Coverage Determination (NCD) for any FDA-approved monoclonal antibodies that target amyloid for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Aduhelm is the first and only drug in this class at the moment, and so the policy would only allow for coverage by Medicare of those enrolled in clinical trials for Aduhelm or another monoclonal antibody treatment.

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a public statement, “CMS has proposed an evidence-based coverage policy after experts reviewed all relevant publicly available evidence and feedback received from stakeholders. Before finalizing this proposal, we will have more opportunities to hear from people with Medicare living with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease or mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia, their family members and caregivers, as well as many other stakeholders, including patient advocacy groups, medical experts, states, payers, and industry professionals.”

The NCD will be decided upon by the end of February and if accepted, would review every clinical trial in question to ensure it meets the NCD requirements.

“This proposed National Coverage Determination is the result of robust evidence analysis conducted through a thorough review process that found while there may be the potential for promise with this treatment, there is also the potential for harm to patients. This harm may range from headaches, dizziness, and falls, to other potentially serious complications such as brain bleeds,” stated Lee A. Fleisher, MD, CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. “We believe that any appropriate assessment of patient health outcomes must weigh both harm and benefit before arriving at a final decision. Therefore, based on the public comments submitted previously and evidence CMS reviewed, the potential for harm, and important questions that remain, we have determined that coverage with evidence development through clinical trials is the right decision for Medicare patients, clinicians, and caregivers, and we look forward to receiving feedback on the proposal.”

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