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February 09, 2015
Industry moving "beyond the pill": Conference highlights
By: Whitney Baldwin

I recently represented Accenture at the third annual Beyond the Pill conference, held on January 27-29 in Princeton, NJ. A wide range of interested parties attended the conference, from big pharma (Pfizer, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, A&Z), biotech (Biogen, Celgene), payers (Aetna, Humana), providers and vendors, reinforcing the fact that all players in the healthcare ecosystem are increasingly pivoting to the patient and looking for ways to provide services that are both around and beyond the pill.

At the conference, it was clear that the patient-centricity movement, referenced by Tony Romito in his recent blog post, is rapidly becoming more substantive, moving from concept to implementation. For example, payers such as Humana are collaborating with companies like Boehringer Ingleheim to jointly understand the patient experience around key therapeutic areas and developing health solutions where both can benefit. Regulators are increasingly incorporating patient metrics that go beyond traditional measures of efficacy and safety to reveal the burden of illness more broadly through reported outcomes, and they are reflecting this new awareness in product labeling and approvals.

Other key themes that emerged from the conference presentations and discussions included:

  • Innovative technologies enabling new capabilities. The digital revolution is changing healthcare, augmenting therapies with solutions personalized for both patients and caregivers. Companies already on this path include HealthPrize, with their adherence through incentives, and Human API, with their aggregation of health records.

  • Defined outcomes and shared data. Although all parties agree they should be patient-centric, that can mean different things to different stakeholders. The good news is that for the first time, incentives are externally focused on the patient rather than internally focused on metrics. Along with the technologies, tools and processes for validating patient outcomes, the data itself needs to be synthesized across platforms so that predictive analytics can inform decision-making. One example of a success in this area is the collaboration between Humana and Boehringer Ingelheim, which has resulted in a new business. Comprehensive Health Insights generates and analyzes data on treatment effectiveness, drug safety, adherence, benefit design, programs and services.

  • Patient service opportunities challenge organizational siloes. To deliver patient services more effectively, the siloes of brand, medical and health outcomes need to be re-aligned to collaborate around the patient journey. Pharmaceutical companies might need to be more brand agnostic, focusing instead on the therapeutic area.

  • Focus on strategic innovation, not the technology. Many of the companies now delivering innovative patient services are start-up companies. To be successful, the companies need to define clear goals and strategies, and then, recognizing that only 5-10 percent of pilots are successful, choose thoughtfully where best to make venture capital investments. Related to this theme, with the goal of bringing the best of the best to our clients in the near-term, Accenture recently hosted an Innovation Workshop, giving innovative patient services companies an opportunity to present to life sciences leaders.

For more information about the conference or to download the conference whitepapers, visit the Beyond the Pill website.

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