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March 31, 2016
Visionary thinking and boldness at this year's eyeforpharma Barcelona
By: Jeff Elton Ph.D.

Recently I met with hundreds of life sciences professionals at the eyeforpharma Barcelona 2016 conference in Spain. This year’s agenda covered three key areas—customer excellence, engagement strategy and patient engagement—and had the most senior and influential speaker faculty in the conference’s 14-year history.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak to a packed room on the four new archetypes of life sciences companies in an outcomes and value-centric world. If you’re not familiar with these archetypes, they’re described in my book Healthcare Disrupted: Next Generation Business Models and Strategies.

The exceptionally positive responses of attendees, show that the key messages in the book are clearly resonating with the industry. There was a tangible sense from the audience that the case for change is clear, and that our four-archetype model provides a valuable guide for life science and digital health companies and their leadership.

Our Accenture workshop “Trends impacting design and innovations: how will it disrupt healthcare” led by John Oswald, was also a popular session, with a standing-room-only audience. John Pugh, Eva Wiedenhöft, Gro Blindheim, Alison Goodrich and Ed Levy shared the Fjord 2016 Trends, diving deeply into how companies can use digital both to focus on the person when they design support and services for patients and people, and to accelerate desired outcomes.

Workshop attendees learned that specificity is important when considering the various audiences affected by a given service, and why considering not just whole groups of patients but individual personas makes a huge difference. Attendees also learned how pharma companies can collaborate more, with each other and with other industries, and get to know real patients better to help them more effectively.

On a personal note, this was the first year I felt that the whole conference and its attendees were all standing behind a single theme—a renewed focus on patient-centricity and the value that would deliver—best achieved through the digital medicines, new collaborative models with health systems, and patient –directed services that:

  • Add true value to the quality of life for patients and people.

  • Give physicians greater reason to prescribe certain products.

  • Alleviate the financial burden on the healthcare ecosystem.

Highlights of the meeting were the visionary thinking and boldness of people like Gitte Aabo, CEO of LEO Pharma, who talks about “helping Sarah” rather than discussing strategy, and Dr. Anne Beal, Chief Patient Officer of Sanofi, who is embedding patient-centricity right into her company’s corporate culture.

In short, the industry is evolving fast. But my sense is that the pace needs to be even quicker. We have to think differently about concepts like multichannel marketing and social media listening. And we need to make a more concerted effort to meet and work alongside patients who are living with conditions that transcend individual therapeutics. This effort can and should galvanize not just pharma companies but all of us involved in healthcare and the life sciences into action on behalf of all patients and bringing more value into the healthcare system for the benefit of all.

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