Cannes, France – John McCarthy, VP of digital global at AstraZeneca, and Ali Parsa, founder and CEO of Babylon Health, first met at an event like Cannes. McCarthy saw Parsa as a leader of change in providing easier access and more support. They used it as a wedge to consider how to evolve AZ's commercial practice, particularly in the areas of COPD and asthma.

Parsa said McCarthy and his team are intreprenuers, or insiders who want to make significant change. He pointed to the challenge the industry is up against: all of our effort is focused on the initial sale. The moment the customers takes it out of box, the relationship is finished. "Today when I buy my car," he said, "that's the first day of my relationship with that company."

The partners pointed to what an ongoing relationship really looks like: AZ, Babylon and NHS have the largest deployment of artificial intelligence in the world, supporting 1.5 million people near London.


Babylon's interface starts with a chatbot that takes typical voice queries (like, my stomach is killing me) and prompts users with specific questions and visual tools to help them get closer to a medical diagnosis.

That deep learning engine can give an immediate consultation and quickly set an appoint with a relevant doctor. Once that appointment happens, Babylon can follow up with relevant videos, home prescription delivery, and dosing reminders. In this case, the system is also connected to inhalers and other smart tools provided by AZ.

The program wraps in positive reinforcement and total EHR integration. The latest components actually replicate the user's entire body dynamically to let it predict future health.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.