Healthcare-life sciences convergence accelerates patient-centered care

by Mark Wren

It wasn’t long ago that healthcare and pharmaceuticals were treated as separate industries and the crossover – when it happened – was just in terms of how clinicians used drugs and devices. But today those lines are blurring. Technically savvy patients, the pressure to improve outcomes while lowering costs, and the rapid expansion of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled digital platforms have led to a dramatic and vital convergence. But what does this mean in practical terms?

Increasingly, healthcare and life sciences companies are collaborating to improve health outcomes and drive patient-centered care.

A great example is the Abilify MyCite connected care system implemented by Otsuka and Magellan Health. Abilify, an atypical antipsychotic, is typically used by patients with severe mental illness. The connected care system links the tablet with an ingestible sensor, enabling patients and clinicians to monitor medical adherence, and gives scientists at Otsuka insight into the practicalities of how their medication works in a real-life setting.

Other innovative companies have built platforms that help to provide both life sciences companies and healthcare entities with invaluable insights. For example, SolveBio has built an enterprise molecular data platform that aggregates and analyzes sizable amounts of complex molecular data, linking technology and genomics. The solution enables pharma and healthcare providers to collaborate and design new, innovative oncology drugs based on the patient’s genetic sequence and the genomic sequencing of their tumors.

Technology is also driving change in the healthcare provider and payer space. While the vast majority of healthcare organizations are still focused on reactive acute and trauma care services, more innovative healthcare providers, such as Swedish telehealth startup KRY, are focusing on segments of the population who are less tied to the traditional doctor-patient relationship to provide on-demand telemedicine services. Despite being a young startup company, KRY already accounts for more than 3 percent of all primary care doctor visits in Sweden.

In France, Doctolib provides a similar service that lets patients take advantage of on-demand digital healthcare consultations, reimbursed by the government. The video consultations are conducted either in clinics or retirement homes, where patients can get help from nurses or health aides who have access to blood pressure monitors and other devices, or via secure online apps. This is particularly helpful to older, frailer patients, providing fast, convenient care without the need for unnecessary hospital admission.

More than half of today’s clinicians and pharmaceutical scientists have grown up with digital, and as such, have a more intuitive way of interacting with it. These industry experts are leading the charge when it comes to convergence, creating new opportunities and developing new core digital capabilities, alliances, partnerships and innovative ways to enable patient-driven care. Such initiatives are critical if we are going to truly understand the patients’ experiences and how they are affected emotionally and financially by their conditions.

As more innovators emerge in this space, a key consideration will be engaging with the patient to ensure that such initiatives are successful. The good news is: If patients recognize that sharing detailed information will help them manage their health, they tend to do so willingly.

For patient-centered health goals to succeed, collaboration among all stakeholders will become all the more important. It’s innovators such as Otsuka and Magellan, SolveBio and KRY that are setting the stage for future ways of working.

Mark Wren is general manager for DXC’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Cloud portfolio in the APAC region. He is a visionary leader focused on driving healthcare and life sciences convergence via cloud-enabled innovation, digital disruption and transformation. He has a unique, proven track record of driving innovation and business growth across a broad spectrum of enterprises from early stage start-ups to global, corporate Fortune 500 businesses such as Dendrite, Phase Forward, Oracle and Raytheon.

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