Healthcare & Life Sciences Companies Go Digital

Daniel Cooper May 22, 20194 mins read

Digital healthcare is becoming a trendy phenomenon with the incorporation of digital systems and platforms such as CRM, virtual assistants, mobile or web applications and Artificial intelligence tools.

Pharmaceutical companies are integrating digital health into all their services offered inclusive of the treatment process, prevention as well as follow-up purposes. In order to keep track of various objective or subjective outcomes in patients, these companies are focusing more on developing complex tools such as digital bio-markers in addition to drug-specific patient apps. A good example is Novartis which has undergone digital transformation. According to its VP, Jeremy Sohn, the company’s operations have been enhanced by digital systems, technology and data for clinical research programs.

Adopting digital technology has aided in better patient communication, a subject that is very crucial to any treatment process. Treatment of patients involves hospital visits, diagnosis, treatment selection, and condition management. Throughout all these stages, it is important for the patient to be updated and involved in order to recuperate. By using patient portals, apps, and online communities, these companies are able to enhance their customer experience leading to better services.

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More partnerships between pharma groups and startups 

Within Pharma specifically, M&A will lead to strategic transactions that enhance a company’s core. External innovation will impose upon existing cultures and propel a change towards inking creative partnerships with a new generation of startups and tech giants. 

Companies are looking to leverage their data, digital and exponential technologies in order to address pressing health challenges within the industry. Technologies such as Big Data, Telemedicine, Machine Learning, sensors, and Virtual Reality are being provided by the startups and harnessed by the big players to transform the healthcare landscape.

Digital health, just like most disruptive innovations, requires novel business models and partnerships developed. Partnering with multiple digital health startups to build innovative provider-facing and patient health solutions is the most effective way for pharmaceutical companies to benefit. Tech-savvy startups are better at designing user-friendly digital health products unlike large, process-oriented firms developing and marketing drugs. Their organizational simplicity ensures product development within months of the partnership rather than years. In addition, small tech startups are not burdened by the cumbersome rules, regulations, and processes that slow the development of digital health solutions. This is a bonus for the big pharmaceutical industries as it helps cut down on cost and time taken to develop innovative health solutions.

An overall industry shift has been witnessed with non-traditional pharma competitors and tech startups entering the market. We can observe this significant market signal in this shift with Roche’s acquisition of Flatiron Health, a market leader in oncology-specific electronic health record (EHR) software and development of real-world evidence for cancer research. This happened earlier last year and the main objective for the acquisition was in order to accelerate industry-wide development and delivery of breakthrough medicines and treatment for cancer patients. By developing a symbiotic relationship, digital health startups and pharma companies can leverage their complementary strengths leading to great healthcare accomplishments.

Impact on hiring

Whilst the industry’s commitment to digital transformation is increasing, few organisations are digitally mature. More than three-quarters of companies agree that their organizations need new leaders to succeed in the digital age, only few organizations feel they have matured in their journey to becoming a digital enterprise. 

This year, biopharma companies are likely to accelerate recruitment of talent from outside of the life sciences sector, for their digital expertise. The sector is expanding its investment in digital-related roles, life science-specific technology and specialised engineering areas. Skilled professionals particularly in areas of research and development, continue to be in high demand and the industry is future proofing itself through its emphasis on talent pipelining through education and training initiatives, as well as strategic collaboration between the public and private sectors.

I am recruiting for Medical Affairs and Sales & Marketing professionals within Healthcare & Life Science in Singapore, so if you would like to explore job opportunities in this area or have a chat about the current market, feel free to contact me for a confidential discussion.

Daniel Cooper - R1324597's picture
Director | Commerce and Industry Recruitment


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