Levy joins PatientsLikeMe, bringing the analyst closer to the patient in latest career move

Monique Levy, who's spent more than a decade helping drugmakers understand technology shifts, has joined PatientsLikeMe, the online discussion platform for people with chronic illness.

She will still be working with life science firms, but in a different capacity, combining her digital health and medical experience to help them meet emerging patient needs.

“I used to be on the clinical and scientific side before I went to the business side,” said Levy, who holds a master's degree in clinical health psychology and joined Cambridge-based PatientsLikeMe about a month ago as SVP and head of customer strategy and value delivery. “Along the way, I have wanted to solve the pain points of patients.”

See also: Biogen, PatientsLikeMe use Fitbit to better understand MS

She spent about seven years with Decision Resources Group, most recently as VP of research for its digital innovation team, helping clarify the fast-moving technology landscape for drugmakers. Understanding such shifts has been essential for manufacturers, especially as many have re-evaluated their sales models over this time. 

Her new gig fuses that more intellectual pursuit of providing insight with a practical piece: building a team that pulls the patient-centered approach into a manufacturer's business practice. “We're trying to lead pharma and other businesses to truly transform parts of their business to be more patient-centered at the core,” she explained.

That could involve guiding the kinds of research projects that PatientsLikeMe is conducting with Biogen that harnessed wearable trackers made by Fitbit to try and understand the progression of multiple sclerosis. Results of the study, which could lead to better MS treatments as well as help the biotech firm prove the value of its medications, were released last year.

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This kind of thinking, which she described as “bringing in the patient experience to the level of medical evidence,” could involve multiple combinations of data and the digital landscape, such as wearables, sensors, and the broader Internet of Things, or simpler interfaces on a browser or mobile, and could help discover new endpoints and better ways to measure outcomes. 

“We really aren't starting with a device or platform in mind but with the patient need, what are the pain points, and how does technology help us solve that,” Levy clarified.

By plugging such research into the business, she hopes to help industry scale up its patient agenda. Findings could impact industry's R&D or go-to-market priorities.

See also: The Top 40 Healthcare Transformers of 2015

“If you look through the condition or treatment journey, there are so many points where patient need can be fused into the system,” she said. “We are partnering with pharma to help them reshape many parts of the commercial process. That's the direction I'm taking.”

A sought-after speaker, Levy was named to MM&M's inaugural list of the Top 40 Healthcare Transformers in 2015 and delivered the closing keynote address at the MM&M Transforming Healthcare Conference.