Skip to main content Skip to Footer


February 16, 2015
5 key actions to take to capture the big money in digital for life sciences
By: James Crowley

From Accenture Strategy for Life Sciences

In the digital healthcare revolution, life sciences companies must be prepared to capitalize on and defend against digital disruptions to avoid being overtaken by more nimble digital players or more innovative competitors. Life sciences companies need to understand and extract the value from digitized customer experiences and operations, and prepare to take advantage of—and/or defend against—the shift in value that digital disruptions will create if they are to capture the full value of a digital business.

Evaluate current digital landscape

To make the most of digitizing the customer experience and their operations, companies should start with a rigorous and scientific evaluation of their current digital landscape—including spending, resources and suppliers. For example, one company found that it had more than 200 digital platforms across more than 10,000 assets and more than 800 digital suppliers. Companies can use this knowledge to benchmark their digital capabilities relative to competitors. But they can also apply the results of the benchmarking to identify and validate priorities for digital investments.

Consider digital disruptions

Innovative companies are already taking multiple approaches to shift value within healthcare:

  • Providing substitutes for treatment or medication: apps and wearable devices are being used to delay or prevent the need for additional treatment or medication.

  • Enabling a sharing economy: patients and providers are using digital technology to share medical resources and costs.

  • Converting healthy activities into currency: innovative companies are using digital technology to enable consumers to receive monetary rewards for health-conscious behaviors.

  • Setting standards for treatment: treatment algorithms and remote monitoring can replace individual decisions by healthcare providers.

  • Creating new intermediaries: digital technology allows patients to find and contact heath care providers who are available to offer telemedicine on-demand from anywhere in the world—or even make house calls.

Life sciences companies that want to capture the big money need to consider each type of digital disruption in turn, to decide where to focus their attention.

Take action

To capture the full value from their digital business, Accenture recommends that companies:

  1. Assess the opportunities and risks pertaining to digital substitutes.

  2. Conduct a robust and ongoing patient-value analysis based on real-world examples to help define the standard of treatment.

  3. Define the “rep of the future” to effectively convey the value proposition of therapies to new intermediaries unbounded by geography.

  4. Build capabilities to facilitate and engage with customer communities, to take advantage of opportunities in the sharing economy.

  5. Develop an ecosystem for digital currency and rewards.

In the digital economy, life sciences companies need to decide whether to be a digital follower, hesitant to change path until the results are in, or a digital transformer, embracing the wild ride ahead and seizing a share of the $100 billion opportunity. Which will your company choose to be—a digital follower or a digital transformer?

To learn more, read Capturing the $100 Billion Opportunity for Life Sciences: Are You a Digital Transformer or Follower?

More blogs on this topic