The Next Data Inflection Point

“Digital transformation” seem to be the buzzwords of this era for the life sciences industry and it’s no wonder, given the rise of digital information in healthcare.

Today we find ourselves in an industry that is increasingly complex; a data-rich environment that brings more and more information to the table, with a growing number of stakeholders and a need to draw insights — the right insights — from the multitude of data available to us. These insights drive market readiness decisions and often lie at the crux of a product market strategy.

Just as the technological revolutions of customer relationship management (CRM) tools and big data have changed how life sciences companies do business, machine-guided, predictive insights from that data are the industry’s next big opportunity.

The future is here

According to Forbes, “Big data is transforming businesses across industry sectors — from industrial systems to financial services, from media to healthcare delivery, from drug discovery to government services, from national security to professional sports.”

In her annual 2017 “state of technology” presentation, Mary Meeker, the visionary Internet maven of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, dedicated 31 pages to digital health and called this moment “the digital health inflection point.” We are now looking at an industrial revolution that is driving a need for more sophisticated technologies to manage the intricacies of data commerce.

Similarly, a Bain & Company report underlines the mastery of data and digital technologies as the distinguishing characteristic of the most competitive pharmaceutical companies in the next 10 years.

Furthermore, big tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook are increasingly investing in healthcare. In fact, Bill Maris, a Google Ventures founder, left Google this year to raise a new investment fund of over $230 million that will focus solely on healthcare investments.

What’s holding us back

The healthcare industry has been slow to adopt emerging technologies, but the cautious pace is understandable.

Healthcare companies create and manage exponentially-increasing amounts of highly sensitive data, and must be compliant with the laws and regulations that surround it. “The healthcare industry has very stringent requirements around cryptographic security that dictates how and when the data needs to be encrypted, transmitted, and decrypted,” writes Meeta Dash of the Tokbox Blog. “The scope and complexity of healthcare regulation has made it incredibly difficult for organizations to adopt new technologies.”

Add to that the changing stakeholder landscape of healthcare, which has become ever-more complex. Traditionally, the industry catered to physicians—something that CRM software managed well. Field representative-generated data also helped to provide a more complete view of customers and markets for improved commercial and operational excellence. Yet, even as recently as 2016, according to an Econsultancy and Ogilvy CommonHealth report, up to 44% of biopharmaceutical companies said they were not prepared to use their CRM data in marketing campaigns.

Now, there are more stakeholders than just the physician; payers, prescribers, providers, provider networks, and patients are as relevant as physicians, and physicians’ networks of influence are proving increasingly important in decision-making.

Changes in regulations and culture are also redefining what is meant by “product value” for life sciences companies; new treatments are no longer rated in terms of efficacy and cost alone, but also in terms of how well they address customer needs.

As healthcare organizations around the world grapple with increasing price pressures, emphasis on value-based pricing models is becoming more pronounced and providers are under pressure to do more with less as well. Pay-for-performance or value-based pricing agreements with healthcare providers and insurers—much like the one struck between Novartis and Aetna/Cigna early last year for heart drug Entresto—are becoming more commonplace and, in turn, holding greater sway over physician choice.

Additionally, segmented and sometimes siloed company divisions like market access or managed care are also quickly becoming essential sources (and consumers) of data for a more complete and holistic approach to “go-to-market” planning and execution.

To keep up with this growing stakeholder network, life sciences companies require access to deeper and more diverse data sets. They also need more complete, integrated, and cross-enterprise technology solutions that can give them a broader view of the “customer,” with relationship and network analytics that provide a cohesive view of their market potential.

Find out even more strategies for navigating the changing technology landscape – click here to read the rest of the article on Pharmaceutical Executive.