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By Omri Shor
Digital technology is transforming traditional care delivery and creates engaging experiences for patients and providers. It also has the potential to capture huge value as it transforms healthcare around the world, with benefits for every stakeholder–patients, providers, pharma, payers, and partners. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates the costs saved from a digital strategy could lie anywhere between $1.5 trillion and $3 trillion a year by 2030, thanks to a range of interventions such as remote monitoring, artificial intelligence, and automation. But understanding how value can be achieved is central to implementing a digital strategy and capturing hidden value with new technologies. This starts by understanding the complexities of the digital ecosystem, adapting to innovation, and converting data into actionable information that all help to drive better outcomes.
Connected healthcare ecosystem
Today’s approach to healthcare is more holistic and connected than ever before. This means that new digital health solutions become part of a greater connected ecosystem where information and interoperability are paramount to long-term success and positive outcomes. Digital health platforms must help to connect the ecosystem to ensure that every part of their solution works together to create a positive, seamless experience. Companies, regardless of sector, need to consider the ecosystem in which they operate when adding new digital solutions to ensure connectivity. Pharma companies are no exception in that they need to add a digital strategy to interact with those in the ecosystem.
With so much changing so quickly, companies risk not being a party to the decisions shaping the emerging ecosystem. Payers, pharma, and providers are working with many different companies, which are all developing new and different digital health solutions. By helping to close gaps in the ecosystem, new digital solutions can improve the healthcare experience.
Meeting patient needs, where they are
Patients are taking a more active role in their health, thanks to smartphones, health apps, wearables, and greater transparency in health information. This means that patients now have more influence in the digital strategy and can help to drive more value through their own engagement with digital programs. This also means that pharma companies need to consider the patient journey as part of the digital strategy.
New digital health tools open new opportunities for companies that engage with patients along their health journey, from primary prevention and screening through diagnosis and staging to treatment and management of a condition. Engaging with patients in these moments requires a better understanding of where the pain points lie for patients, physicians, providers, and payers and how digital health solutions might address them. In doing so, greater opportunities to build brand loyalty, support stronger treatment adherence, and reduce errors all present new avenues to unlock hidden value and support stronger financial performance.
Innovation and technology
Unlocking value from digital often requires new ways of working—and a new culture. Companies will need to move away from what are typically lengthy R&D cycles focused on the launch of a product and instead look at how digital strategies can support greater innovation and engagement that will support better launches, longer use cases, and greater patient loyalty. For example, as part of a clinical trial for people with depression, LivaNova partnered with Verily, on a wearable device and mobile app to capture behavioral data from study participants. This approach allows the pharma company to capture new data insights and value by decentralizing its trial through a digital approach.
While there is real opportunity for pharma companies to drive new sources of growth and improve patient engagement through digital solutions, it also requires bold moves in terms of innovative tech partnerships and connectivity. Big tech players and smaller start-ups all see the opportunity in the market, and first movers are likely to be among those best able to shape the industry and capture value. Amazon Health’s entry into at-home care and remote monitoring, and Livongo’s merger with Teladoc, point to how new operating models are using digital services to unlock value in new ways.
Create value from data insights
From wearables and on-demand solutions to clinical devices and wellness apps, data has is reimagining the relationship with patients. The data, and more importantly the insights derived from data, present the biggest opportunity to impact the healthcare future. And with patients playing a more active role in their health, via apps and wearables, they are providing the healthcare system with more robust and complete data to gain a full view of their lives. Data taken from tech devices and patient input could shift the focus to preventative care, even identifying the earliest indications of future disease – again creating new value to shift the paradigm in healthcare management.
According to a recent Health Trends Report published by Stanford Medicine, data has the potential to significantly impact clinicians and providers, how institutions partner together, how to rationalize cost, and how to protect patient privacy. As wearables, connected devices, and AI-powered apps emerge as viable medical devices; technology will continue to play a significant role in patients’ healthcare experiences. As a result, there are unique opportunities for companies to innovate and create engaging opportunities for healthcare consumers.
Capturing new value from digital strategies is clearly limited to the extent to which health systems are willing to embrace digital solutions. How companies develop digital health platforms, monetization strategies, harness the flood of data and encourage adoption are just a few critical factors that could create new value. The future of healthcare lies in digital health as a driver of significant growth, as well as a source of better patient care and more sustainable healthcare systems.
About the author:
Omri Shor is the CEO of Medisafe, the leading digital engagement solution that provides personalized treatment support to more than 10MM users. He is an expert in digital medicine applications and works closely with major pharma companies in developing and guiding direct connection to patients via innovative platforms to support improved health and treatment, with customization and guided treatment.