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May 13, 2016
Healthcare disrupted: Around-the-patient innovators broaden product definitions
By: Anne O’Riordan & Jeff Elton

Around-the-Patient Innovators advance the highest value of new medicines, device technologies, advanced analytics and digital infrastructure.

Four new business models are emerging for life sciences companies shifting their focus from volume to value: lean innovators, around-the-patient innovators, value innovators and new health digitals. Companies using the second of these four models—Around-the-Patient Innovators—while still largely centered on producing drugs, are also developing ancillary services and capabilities.

Most of these companies are evolving from the R&D leaders—they’re high science, high service and high value. They focus on the most devastating of diseases, those with the highest health burden on patients and a high resource burden on health systems. And they compete in multiple markets, for science and key R&D partnerships, for partners in technologies and digital infrastructure, and for a share of the value created for broad populations of patients with the highest unmet needs.

What is the Around-the-Patient Innovator business model?
Around-the-Patient Innovators understand that developing and commercializing therapeutics is no longer enough to sustain them as innovators. They know they need to pivot to a patient outcome-centric business model, to meet the needs of the emerging patient-consumer and the risk bearers (e.g., health authorities, payers, and risk-bearing or contracting healthcare providers) that increasingly demand demonstrable value for specific patient populations or the healthcare system overall.

To do this, they create sets of patient and provider-centered services, patient selection criteria, treatment algorithms and analytic capabilities—packaged together in assurance of benefit for clinicians, provider/national health systems and patients. In other words, they are making bold moves to broaden the definition of where they innovate to be beyond the device, or the chemical or biological entities they produce.

Differentiating factors
These companies are usually leading biopharma and pharma—not always the largest—that focusing on building the capability to be entrepreneurial in how they bring their scale, resources and network to bear for the benefit of patients. They recognize that today’s imperative to benefit patient and health systems requires them to be solution-focused and deeply competent in advancing the highest value new medicines, device technologies, advanced analytics and digital infrastructure.

Built on a traditional “diversified pharma” chassis, these companies leverage and integrate their capabilities across the enterprise and harness the capabilities of new external partners to sell a value proposition to the health system.

Innovating to meet unmet needs
To be an Around-the-Patient Innovator, a company must excel at identifying patients’ unmet needs. These companies see value in investing in and acquiring advanced capabilities for:

  • Gaining rich insights into the current standard of care and the inadequacies thereof,

  • Potential device and digital interventions that could transform care, and

  • Partnerships and collaborations that could enable them to access emerging capabilities.

Additionally, they:

  • Have a strong focus on pre-diagnosis and pre-treatment to assure that patients are stratified to the therapies and provided the services that enhance the likelihood of positive or targeted outcomes,

  • Leverage digital medical technologies, provider care coordination, and patient engagement solutions as a complementary to their therapeutics, and 

  • Invest in the quality and effectiveness of patient and physician services.

While the Around-the-Patient Innovators boldly embrace services and digital technologies, they remain product companies. While their strategies have them drive to new insights into the biology of devastating diseases, we believe their success in digital medicines and clinically centric care and patient services will see increasing investments and collaborative relationships there.   Together, therapeutic and digital medicines will allow substantial progress in addressing the inadequacies of current therapies and care management approaches.

In our next post, we’ll describe the third of these new models—Value Innovators.

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