Helping hearts with at-home testing: How pharma can engage patients in cardiovascular care


February is American Heart Month: a time to zero in on cardiovascular health and encourage people to take small, sustainable, but high-impact steps to reduce their risks of heart disease and strokes.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains America’s  leading cause of death, claiming more than 2,380  lives each day on average. In other words, someone dies of CVD every 36 seconds in the United States. With so many lives at stake – and nearly $240 billion spent each year on heart disease and its associated impacts – it’s time for stakeholders from across the entire care continuum to redouble their efforts to address this devastating group of chronic diseases.

Heart disease prevention starts with proactive screenings for risk factors, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Unfortunately, more than 40% of US adults with high cholesterol don’t know it, and aren’t getting treatment for it. Experts blame a variety of things, including trouble finding primary care and low screening rates. 

This represents an opportunity for pharma companies looking to better engage with patients. If more pharma companies take the lead in expanding access to convenient, at-home diagnostic testing, they can close screening gaps and connect people with the right treatments before their heart health deteriorates, while developing stronger relationships with their communities. 

Campaigning for awareness of cardiovascular health

American Heart Month puts a spotlight on cardiovascular issues during February, but pharma companies are increasingly committed to the work of generating awareness all year long. For example, Novartis recently launched its “What’s my LP(a)?” campaign to test patients for potentially harmful lipoproteins, and Amgen took on a similar initiative with its “What’s my LDL?” program focusing on “bad” cholesterol.

By providing the opportunity to access meaningful diagnostic data without ever leaving their homes, these approaches allow pharma companies to bypass many of the obstacles that keep patients from assessing their risks, such as transportation issues, healthcare provider shortages, and lack of access to affordable testing sites. 

The enormous potential of using at-home testing to connect patients with the right treatments sooner in their healthcare journey is one reason why ixlayer is proud to be a new member of the Innovators’ Network at the American Heart Association Center for Health Technology & Innovation.  

ixlayer’s diagnostic testing platform provides the digital infrastructure necessary for biopharma organizations to quickly and easily join the movement to increase testing, provide appropriate treatments, and contribute to reducing cardiovascular diseases and their costs.

Testing puts the patient at the center of communication

The result of these shared efforts is a dramatically different patient experience that brings pharma closer to the community – a key component of succeeding in an environment that is becoming more focused on patient-centricity. 

Empowering individuals with information from at-home testing creates the opportunity to deliver a tailored experience that combines physical convenience with digital accessibility to actionable education.  

This transforms the pharma community from a purveyor of prescriptions at a single point in the treatment process into a true partner for care throughout the entire patient journey. Longer-term relationships and collaboration with other members of the care team are essential components of a patient-centric marketing plan. 

Making a difference for heart health in an equitable, effective manner

Investing in at-home testing as a way to jumpstart awareness of cardiovascular issues is an effective and patient-friendly way to proactively make a difference for the millions of people at risk of heart disease and stroke.

Active engagement from pharma companies in chronic disease awareness, at-home testing, and prevention will bring benefits to all patients, especially those who are not currently informed about their risks and what they should do about them.

By getting ahead of cardiovascular disease and working closely with patients and healthcare providers sooner in the care process, pharma can take the lead in contributing to shared goals of better experiences, better outcomes, and lower costs for all.