UCB works with Garmin on wellness program for rheumatoid arthritis patients

By Jonah Comstock
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Global pharmaceutical company UCB has launched Wellness4U, a health and wellness platform for people living with immunologic disorders which includes, as one aspect, an activity tracker pilot program.

"Our medicines treat thousands of people around the world and we are engaging with patients, their families and healthcare professionals to address their unmet needs," Todd Edwards, vice president and head of US immunology at UCB, told MobiHealthNews in an email. "We recognize that radical changes are taking place in the eco-system of care and that we need to evolve accordingly to deliver on our vision. The key element of our evolution is to focus on the delivery of increased patient value. Wellness 4U is an example of a program that supports patients beyond therapeutic intervention by addressing more of the psychosocial elements that impact people living with immunologic diseases."

In the activity tracker pilot, which has been launched in Houston, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; and Los Angeles, California, patients receive a Garmin vivofit 2 activity tracker to measure daily steps and sleep. Patients can access the data, as well as educational materials and social support, through a Wellness4U online community platform. The pilot is aimed at patients with rheumatoid arthritis and has so far enrolled 50 patients.

"Patients with immunologic disorders are often at higher risk for other conditions such as cardiovascular events. Leading an active and healthy lifestyle may help to prevent this, but patients often aren't sure where to start," Dr. Prashanth Sunkureddi of Clear Lake Rheumatology in Houston, said in a statement. "Therefore, initiatives like Wellness 4U can be critical in empowering patients to have meaningful discussions with their physicians about their lifestyles and improving long-term health outcomes beyond their treatment plans alone. By tracking physical activity and sleeping habits through the Wellness 4U Activity Tracker, the first program of its kind for people with RA, patients can work with their physicians to track their progress and ultimately take an active role in their own wellness journey."

UCB declined to comment on whether there were plans to expand the activity tracker pilot beyond the initial four cities. In addition to the activity tracker pilot, the Wellness4U program includes a speaker series, an education initiative for nurse practicioners, and a research collaboration with the IBD Support Foundation.

"At UCB, we aim to deliver the highest value for patients, including providing sustainable, positive outcomes for those living with immunologic disorders through our Wellness 4U initiatives this year and beyond," Edwards said in a statement. "Providing patients with support means more than just therapeutic intervention. We are proud that we've been able to create Wellness 4U to equip patients and their healthcare team with tools to address mental, physical and social unmet needs. This overarching Wellness 4U platform and the unique relationships it is forging are representative of the larger UCB commitment to being a trusted collaborator, actively pioneering in subpopulations with remaining unmet patient and provider needs."