Aptar Digital Health

On A Mission To Elevate Patient Experiences At Every Stage Of Their Treatment Journey

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the healthcare industry, leading to a rise in the adoption of healthtech and remote care services. The pandemic has forced healthcare providers to adopt innovative solutions to deliver care while maintaining social distancing measures and minimizing the risk of infection. With the outbreak of the virus, healthcare providers have had to restructure their operations to adapt to the changing needs of patients.

This has led to increased use of technology, such as telemedicine, to deliver care to patients remotely. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for increased investment in healthtech and digital healthcare solutions to ensure that healthcare providers can continue to provide high-quality care to patients, even during times of crisis.

Furthermore, healthtech will become mainstream through the progressive adoption of connected devices, remote patient monitoring tools, teleconsultation, and other digital modalities that aim at improving care. It has two potential effects on healthcare.

First, it aids in decision-making because it gives all stakeholders more information about patients’ health status and improves their ability to take appropriate action. Second, since digital solutions are decentralized and accessible to patients directly, it puts a greater emphasis on them. Thus, the patient voice is more accessible than in the past, which is a very positive shift.

A Leader In Integrated Health Solutions And Services

This is where Aptar Digital Health comes into the picture with a mission to empower patients with self-confidence to manage their disease. The company believes that when supported with the right tools, patients can become active participants in their own care, working as partners with their care teams. Thus, it creates end-to-end solutions through an integrated suite of products and services by combining mobile, web-based technology, and connected hardware, to actively engage patients in their treatment and help deliver superior experiences at a global scale.

Aptar Digital Health provides a range of services to assist patients dealing with diseases. For instance, it helps support people diagnosed with cancer to better self-manage their symptoms and stay on track with their treatments. In the field of respiratory care, with the aid of mobile apps, smart inhalers and diagnostic devices, it assists individuals with asthma or COPD to better manage their medication therapy. It also helps people with diabetes better manage their treatment thanks to real-time advice on insulin doses to inject.

With a track record of over 20 years of active operations in the market, Aptar Digital Health owns in-depth knowledge and know-how on multiple subjects such as clinical background, regulatory, patient journey, market needs, and market access. Finally, being backed by a large industrial group like AptarGroup lends us financial and organizational stability to invest in the long-term digital health play.

In all of these examples, Aptar Digital Health connects patients with their care teams remotely so they can benefit from earlier interventions should this become necessary.

AptarGroup, Inc., a global leader in the design and manufacturing of a wide variety of drug delivery, consumer product dispensing, and active material science solutions and services, owns Aptar Digital Health as a division of Aptar Pharma. And Aptar Digital Health is the result of Aptar Pharma’s ambition in becoming a leader in digital solutions.

Challenges And Roadblocks

The digital health industry is still in its infancy. Global healthcare systems are still establishing suitable legal and reimbursement frameworks and integrating digital health solutions into routine medical procedures. Even though the use of digital technology has been extensively democratized over the past 20 years, digital health is a niche and expanding market where patient and physician adoption is still low.

By educating people and raising their knowledge of the benefits of digital health, Aptar Digital Health seeks to challenge this paradigm. Some challenges the company faces are linked to the way the healthcare systems are structured. The incentives are not completely aligned among all health system stakeholders – for instance, when healthcare payment systems are linked to utilization of medical resources (e.g., hospitalizations, ER visits) instead of linked to achieving better clinical outcomes. There must be a further alignment of the different stakeholders to have full-scale adoption.

Meet The Team Behind Aptar Digital Health’s Success and Growth

Aptar Digital Health is co-led by two individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, unparalleled expertise in their respective fields, and an unwavering commitment to driving the organization toward greater success. Alongside their expert team operating across several continents, their tireless efforts, dedication, and strategic vision have steered the company to new heights. These two exemplary leaders are Sai Shankar (Co-President) and Pierre Leurent (Co-President).

Sai Shankar has more than 20 years of experience across pharmaceutical, medical devices, and digital health business verticals. He joined Aptar Pharma in 2017, having previously spent 15 years at Allergan and Sanofi. Since joining Aptar, he has helped to build out the Digital Health division.

Today, as the Co-President of Aptar Digital Health, Sai is responsible for overall P&L responsibilities for the business and has overseen the acquisition of digital health companies such as Voluntis and Cohero Health, as well as equity investments in various start-ups like Propeller Health, Sonmol (China) and Navia (India).

Pierre Leurent is passionate about the intersection of digital and healthcare and has enjoyed working for over 20 years in this space, both in the United States and Europe. An engineer by training, he started his career at GE Healthcare, in its medical imaging software division. Then, he worked at HealthCenter, a vendor of Electronic Health Records based in Silicon Valley.

In 2001, he co-founded Voluntis, a leading digital therapeutics platform company, which went public in 2018. In 2021, Voluntis was acquired by Aptar Group. He now serves as the Co-President of Aptar Digital Health. Pierre has also occupied roles in industry trade associations, such as the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA), of which he is a founding Director, and Advamed’s Digital Health Executive Leadership Group.

On a personal note, Pierre loves Sai’s energy – there is no mountain that he is afraid to climb! He finds him very ambitious and tenacious, and driven by a contagious energy! And as for Sai, he loves Pierre’s deep industry knowledge, his pragmatism at all levels, and his optimism for the future of digital health.

The exemplary duo says, “What inspires us at Aptar Digital Health is the opportunity to improve patients’ quality of life thanks to better health management tools. Our mission is to empower patients to take control of their own health by leveraging the latest technologies. We put advanced digital solutions directly in the hands of patients and healthcare professionals. Every day we are motivated by the positive impact we see our solutions deliver, improving people’s lives and supporting healthcare professionals.

Staying Ahead

According to the dynamic duo, Pierre and Sai, “We are aware that the demand for our solutions varies considerably. We operate globally and across specific therapeutic areas. Patients, healthcare providers, pharma companies, and institutions have all different expectations of digital health solutions based on the clinical context, local regulations, or the therapy that are supported by a digital approach. We work to stay ahead of these needs by integrating new capabilities such as managing regulated and unregulated solutions and proposing “beyond-the-tech” services like market access, training, and onboarding and data analysis.

They further add, “With a track record of over 20 years of active operations in the market, Aptar Digital Health owns in-depth knowledge and know-how on multiple subjects such as clinical background, regulatory, patient journey, market needs, and market access. Finally, being backed by a large industrial group like AptarGroup lends us financial and organizational stability to invest in the long-term digital health play.

Better Healthcare Services

Pierre and Sai: Healthcare institutions should take into account HealthTech for several factors, including improving care delivery and outcomes, lightening the burden on caregivers, and lowering healthcare costs, which are rising at an alarming rate globally. In the majority of healthcare systems, providers are compensated based on the number of tasks completed rather than on the consistency of the treatment they provide. To evaluate the worth of a medical procedure and the move towards so-called value-based healthcare, data is required. HealthTech makes it feasible to gather the data points (disease progression, patient quality of life, etc.) needed to support these new care models.

Improve Patient’s Journey

Pierre and Sai : Every stage of the patient’s journey through treatment is being improved by Aptar Digital Health. Our integrated suite of digital health products and services empowers patients to actively engage in their treatment and deliver a superior experience at a global scale. We leverage our unmatched experience and end-to-end platforms and solutions to derisk and accelerate pharma’s digital health initiatives across therapeutic areas, resulting in better patient outcomes and better care. We are a leading expert partner of the pharmaceutical industry in connected devices, SaMD (Software as a Medical Device), diagnostics, and patient insights.

Key Milestones

In 2023, Aptar Digital Health plans to increase its operations and fortify its relationship with the Life Sciences industry across several therapeutic areas. Aptar Digital Health currently works in seven therapeutic areas, with a particular emphasis on oncology, respiratory, immunology, and neurology, where there are numerous opportunities to make a difference for patients using specific therapies.

Pierre and Sai say, “This year, we’ll also be able to see the full benefits of the comprehensive offer that we built last year, following the acquisition of Voluntis by Aptar Pharma. Today, we have a unique portfolio of software, connected devices, and services, and in 2023 this offer is being actively marketed. We are also expanding our portfolio of collaborations with technology partners and increasingly acting as the pharmaceutical industry’s go-to partner for the deployment of digital health solutions at a global scale. Our goal is to further our leadership position in integrated solutions for patients and healthcare providers.

Words of Wisdom for HealthTech Entrepreneurs

Pierre and Sai :  You need to have a clear value proposition that meets specific unmet needs and makes you different from the competition. Same for business models, once you have defined who your target is (patients, healthcare providers or health systems, pharma…), be able to prove your value through consumer insight studies, market, clinical and real-world evidence studies, and demonstrate that you create value not only from a financial standpoint but also from an outcomes standpoint.

It’s also very important to stay focused on the business models you have prioritized. There are so many opportunities in this space that you can easily lose focus and get diverted in different directions, which can ultimately lead to failure.

Another piece of advice would be to be present and active in the ecosystem. Don’t stay alone in your own world: talk to people. The healthcare industry is a field of experts, with many stakeholders and country specificities, so it’s important to be well-connected. Surround yourself with the right people, be supported by external advisors, experts in their own domain, to inform your decision-making and help you achieve success!

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