May 26, 2017
Finding hidden pockets of digital value in life sciences
By: Ken Munie

Four steps to help life sciences companies discover the value of their digital assets across therapeutic areas.

In our previous post, we looked at a new approach for assessing the value of digital assets—a Digital Potential Analysis—which allows life sciences companies to see the economic affectability of digital assets within specific therapeutic areas across the patient journey. The therapeutic lens expands these companies’ perspectives and opens up new investment opportunities.

Using this new approach, our Accenture Strategy team analyzed digital’s impact on six therapeutic areas—Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, Alzheimer’s Disease, HIV, Breast Cancer and Multiple Myeloma—and looked at where the opportunities lie for long-term economic value.

Our analysis found that the opportunities vary dramatically across the therapeutic areas, as well as across the stages of the journey within each therapeutic area. But the greatest potential exists in digital assets that can be applied to multiple therapeutic areas. For example, in the area of HIV, more than 75 percent of digital’s impact is driven by assets that can be applied to multiple therapeutic areas. And in the area of congestive heart failure, approximately $2 billion in annual costs can be avoided by applying digital assets originally intended for diabetes, atrial fibrillation and hypertension.

The case for applying a portfolio lens to chronic disease investments could hardly be stronger, which is why we suggest life sciences companies re-examine their digital investments and look for ways to capture more value from their digital assets. For companies that want to make more strategic digital investment decisions to improve patient outcomes, business performance and competitive advantage, we recommend four steps:

  1. Make digital asset investment a C-suite imperative
    Because digital health assets can lead to new revenue streams and business models, companies should manage them as they would manage core therapeutics. This means moving the digital agenda to a business unit with P&L responsibility. Once CEOs embrace this imperative, new opportunities emerge for chief medical officers, chief digital officers and extended medical teams to coalesce around common objectives. These players will be elevated to more strategic roles, with greater impact and accountability.

  2. Implement a digital portfolio investment approach
    A Digital Potential Analysis enables companies to identify the affectability of digital assets on specific therapeutic areas, across the patient journey. Whether they invest in large, prevalent therapeutic areas or within targeted and rare disease states, companies should apply this cross-disease value calculation to scale investments, reduce disease cost burdens and address unmet needs.

  3. Build digital economic ecosystems
    The opportunities for health system players to seize digital value are even more significant if they work together. Pharmaceutical companies, biotechs and medical device manufacturers can take the lead in creating digital ecosystems that drive economic returns and improve patient outcomes. Leaders must understand the economic cost curves associated with healthcare technologies, as well as the objectives and risk appetites of other players, to deliver solutions that produce the desired near-term outcomes. They must also manage ecosystems effectively and determine how to appropriately split economic returns across stakeholders.

  4. Embed digital collaborations as a strategic capability
    Chief digital officers, chief marketing officers, chief medical officers and others in leadership roles need to be able to work closely with multiple external organizations simultaneously to incubate digital technologies and address key concerns such as infrastructure and platforms, commercial constructs and regulatory issues. Portfolio strategies of life sciences leaders will increasingly include M&As, collaborations or alliances with other players in the larger health system, including venture capital firms, incubators and smaller digital health firms. Effectively managing these new types of internal and external relationships will be key. This may require new leadership models and ecosystem-management roles.

Understanding the economic value potential of digital assets in distinct therapeutic areas and across the patient journey paves the way for the development of products, services and solutions that will optimize returns—for patients, as well as the business.

To learn more, download: Digital Affectability: A therapeutic lens on disease

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