Pharmaceutical companies are struggling to keep pace with digital technology changes. Mobile communications, the cloud, advanced analytics, and the Internet of Things are among the innovations that are beginning to transform the healthcare industry in ways that have transformed the media, retail, and banking industries already. Pharmaceutical managers are well aware of the potential for disruption and are experimenting with a wide range of digital initiatives. Yet many find it difficult to determine what initiatives to scale up and how, as they are still unclear about what digital success will look like in the next five years. This article is intended to remedy this. We believe disruptive trends indicate where digital technology will drive the pharmaceutical industry’s most value, and they should guide businesses as they build a digital success strategy.
Outcomes-based care is moving to center stage
Payors and governments are increasingly focused on cost management while delivering improved patient outcomes, placing an even greater burden on pharmaceutical companies to demonstrate the value of their drugs in the real world— not just in randomized controlled trials — if they want market access and premium pricing to be retained. Digitally enabled solutions “beyond the pill” in this environment, which include not only drugs but also sensors to collect and analyze data to monitor the condition of a patient between visits to health care providers, are becoming critical to serving the needs of both parties. These solutions help drive adherence to the treatment and results that payers and governments are seeking, and generate the data that pharmaceutical companies need to demonstrate the superior efficacy of their drugs.
Patients are becoming more engaged
Patients are much less dependent on their doctors for advice in a digital age, increasingly able and willing to take more control over their own health. They feel empowered by the vast amount of health information available online and on apps, as well as the range of wearables such as FitBit and Apple Watch for health and fitness. More than 85% of patients said they were confident in their ability to take responsibility for their health in one survey, and they knew how to access online resources to help them do that. Furthermore, patients are becoming more interested in evaluating various healthcare products and services as they bear a growing share of the costs. The ability to engage with patients as they make such evaluations in a digital world could be key to the success of the commercial model of a pharmaceutical company.
Keep watching this space for more.