4:45 PM
 | 
Feb 15, 2019
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Embedding digital in Lilly’s portfolio

How Lilly is using digital technologies to improve patient outcomes

Editor's Note: This article was updated on Mar 18, 2019 at 7:33 AM PDT

Eli Lilly and Co. is appointing leaders to drive its digital health agenda, with a strong focus on improving patient outcomes and reducing total healthcare costs.

Divakar Ramakrishnan, a 20-year veteran of Lilly, was named chief digital officer last June. His brief is to integrate digital tools across the therapeutic portfolio, which is consistent with Lilly’s move to start taking its product offerings beyond the pharmacotherapy to comprehensive solutions that extend to the healthcare system.

Ramakrishnan reports to Aarti Shah, who was named SVP, chief information and digital officer in January. Shah sits on the executive committee, and her remit is to oversee the integration of digital technologies throughout the company. Novartis AG, Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline plc have chief digital officers on their executive committees, each with a similarly broad remit (see “A Year of Digital Progress at Novartis”).

On Feb. 12, Sanofi joined the crowd, naming Ameet Nathwani chief digital officer, with responsibility to build out Sanofi’s internal digital infrastructure and explore new business opportunities. Nathwani will continue to serve as chief medical officer (CMO).

As companies figure out how to define digital health and utilize digital technologies, Lilly has divided the sphere into use of IT platforms for external interfaces, optimizing process development and breaking new creative ground.

“Digital health falls into three buckets, with companies enabling their IT platforms to tap into the change we see all around us in terms of access to the customer, the patients and the physicians,” as the first, Ramakrishnan said. Secondly, it involves “digital-enabled optimization” of existing process from drug discovery and the management of clinical trials to manufacturing. “All of these processes can be optimized with digital technologies,” he said.

“Our digital technology combined with...

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