Welcome friends, to our new podcast, The Patients Speak, where we combine the business and science innovations in healthcare with the patient voice, the patient experience, and activating patients to be more involved and more empowered in their own healthcare.

Today’s guest is Shefali Shah, she’s global VP of market access and commercial effectiveness for a company called MindMaze, a brain technology and neurorecovery company. She is an expert in evidence-based strategies for digital healthcare. Her background includes market access for pharmas, including GSK, Novo Nordisk, and InVentiv Health (now Syneos)

Shefali defines digital therapeutics as evidence-based therapeutic or an intervention that uses software to manage or prevent a disease. She emphasizes that MindMaze combines different modalities to create an immersive experience for the patient. So it is not just about the software, it is also about integrating the therapist, the care team, and the hardware.

Shefali explains that as much as the games are a basis of their platform it does require a lot more than a game. They understand that patients are going to learn differently and are going to need a lot of different modalities to overcome some of the challenges

We discussed how MindMaze built a system incorporating the patient’s voice and she gave a few examples of how they do it.

  • Many members of the product team themselves have survived a stroke or other traumatic brain injuries
  • Beyond the team, they engage patient advisors to help in developing the product
  • Bringing therapists into the product-design process
  • Patient research by listening to unfiltered recovery stories on social platforms

She acknowledged that the treatments, therapies, and medicines patients need across each of these stages are very different.So they take very real-world experiences and then connect the inpatient and outpatient and home-care settings — all of those in designing the trials.

We dove deep intothose unforeseen challenges in the patient journey for example:

  • When a patientalmost lost their house
  • Or their caregivers left them because they could not afford a nurse to come in
  • They were just tired of taking care of the patient themselves
  • Or their insurance just stopped covering because they went from one set of care to another.

We also spoke about the challenges she is facing in bringing these products to the market.

  • There are market access challenges around the different reimbursement pathways that have been designed for the different sites of care.

In summary, she says part of the solution is to create Therapy Integration Managers that take the patient from one site of care to another. They would be considered as a medical concierge to help patients transition through different sets.

In conclusion, we talk about collaboration with different organizations to bring this category of digital therapeutics to life. The APTA and the AAN clinical societies, and also patient advocacy groups, would go a long way to help focus on the entire patient journey.

Shefali Shah


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