In an increasingly digital world patients seek the same level of convenience and personalization from biopharma companies that they receive from other industries. While momentum for change has been building, conditions are now perfect for an ambitious and fundamental reshaping of outdated processes. It is time for biopharma companies to lead the healthcare industry by becoming more empathetic, impactful, human and truly patient-centric. Yet while they understand the need, implementing the increasingly complex changes necessary for patient centricity place greater demands on the supply chain. New Science, (novel life sciences mechanisms, modalities and platforms addressing significant unmet needs using a unique combination of science and technology) propels this complexity as it is expected to drive 86% of industry revenue growth in the next five years.1
What are the internal and external forces responsible for the pressure and influence to shift towards a patient-centric approach?
While many companies say they are patient-centric and run PCSC’s, there seems to be no industry-wide definition. Health ecosystem players often confuse the PCSC with patient-centric products like self-infusion pens or blood sugar test machines and use them as interchangeable definitions. The general misconception is that a one-size-fits-all approach will achieve a patient-centric supply chain. We interviewed senior supply chain executives in the healthcare ecosystem and a few themes emerged.
- Patient centricity is not restricted to personalized medicine, it is a continuum that touches all product types.
- Patient-centric supply chains are not analogous to patient-centric products.
- Patient-centric supply chains are influenced by several factors: disease burden, product type, product lifecycle stage, treatment type, and region, among others.
- Supply chain leaders leverage a segmentation strategy based upon a number of factors and dimensions.
Biopharma leaders consider a number of factors and dimensions to help refine and perfect their patient-centric supply chain for a particular product.
In the example below, we show how two factors (disease burden and product type) can be used to help define an efficient PCSC for a mixed product portfolio. Other factors can also apply, depending on product and company-specific variables.
Multiple factors and dimensions determine the configurations and capabilities required to operate a patient-centric supply chain
A patient-centric supply chain understands and reflects how the stage of a disease affects patient needs. Terminal patients can have very different needs compared to chronic patients in terms of timing and manner of delivery. In addition, when it comes to product type, a patient-centric supply chain for a rare disease medication would be completely different from a high-volume vaccine that requires mass administration to millions. Then there are considerations like local infrastructure: delivery of a vaccine in a modern developed economy can make certain assumptions about infrastructure availability, whereas developing countries may not be able to do so. All of these factors play a role in determining the right PCSC for your patient and product.
A patient-centric approach that works
To deploy a truly differentiated PCSC, we recommend the following;
- Create a framework(s) for archetyping the products: Identify and prioritize the factors (disease burden, product type etc.) most pertinent to your business.
- Assess your product portfolio: Map the products onto the framework(s) to segment the products and appreciate the nuances.
- Determine the right framework(s) that best represent your current and anticipated product portfolios.
- Identify the capabilities that are common across all archetypes and those that are specific to each product archetype for all frameworks in consideration.
- Commit to accumulating capabilities that are common across all archetypes and deploy archetype-specific capabilities.
To learn more about achieving a patient-centric supply chain with examples from leading life sciences companies download the report.
1New Science: A new economic reality for growth 2021