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November 19, 2015
Can life science companies survive disruption and shift focus to patient outcomes?
By: Jeff Elton Ph.D.

The healthcare industry is currently experiencing a tsunami of change. Healthcare providers are being incentivized to shorten patients’ length of stay, limit the scope of their treatment and avoid acute care facilities. They’re also being evaluated not only on their ability to offer individualized care that begins even before a patient enters a facility, but also on their ability to continue it into their home and workplace to ensure a positive outcome.

Technology is another major catalyst in the industry. For the first time, thanks to analytics and big data, healthcare players can come together to share and analyze patient data to fully understand the patient journey. Armed with this understanding, they can collectively work to determine the steps to take and services to provide that will improve patient care and health outcomes in very cost-efficient, effective ways.

Patient expectations are changing too, as patients become much more active and intelligent consumers of healthcare. According to an Accenture 2015 survey of 10,000 patients around the world, 65 percent said they want more help and guidance before they begin treatment for a disease. Their greatest frustration: a lack of notifications of being “at risk” for a condition.

We are also seeing a host of new collaborations among healthcare stakeholders combined with big data and new analytics. These collaborations are enabling entirely new ways of measuring treatment program effectiveness, improving patient access to care and managing to deliver value and outcomes—in real time.

Life sciences companies themselves are being forced to change their view of who might be prospective collaborators and competitors. Former technology companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Salesforce and Qualcomm, coming from both the consumer and business-to-business services sides, are now explicitly becoming healthcare companies.

To navigate this tsunami, the strategies of all the participants in the healthcare ecosystem will need to evolve. Outcome-based programs with a set of services directed to provider systems, physicians and patients will require significant changes to current operational models.

For life sciences players wanting to up their game in patient services and move from volume to value, we recommend three approaches:

  • Patient engagement. It is becoming standard to have patient engagement and patient services entities, including mobile apps that can provide critical reminders and support for the patient while on a therapy or therapies.

  • Patient services. In this approach, mobile apps and provider-facing tools (like treatment algorithms) enhance the ability to identify high-responder patients and collect patient outcomes in a real-world data registry.

  • Patient care management. This is a fully integrated approach where a company partners with a provider system or multiple systems to advance the status of a population and individual patients within the population, usually as part of a service-based revenue model.

The leaders of the future will be the ones that disrupt traditional modes of care, embracing digital and analytic-driven insights and putting improved patient and economic outcomes front and center of their business models, operating models and cultures.

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