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July 28, 2014
The New Hallmarks of a Digitally Enabled Life Sciences Business Model
By: Sunil Rao

What makes digitally enabled life sciences companies different?

These companies challenge the traditional product-focused business models, disrupt the traditional view of their role in healthcare and look at digital in a holistic way. They use digital to create new ways to bring therapeutic solutions and services to patients faster and often at a lower cost. They use digital to better target treatments for specific patient populations where they are shown to be more effective. They use digital to enhance the effectiveness of patient engagement and care management beyond medications, medical devices, and the formal walls of healthcare facilities. Instead of using digital as merely a way to do current things better, they use digital as a way to better treat patients and help them better manage their health.

We believe the hallmarks of a digitally enabled life sciences company lie in:

  • Collaboration: Developing solutions using ideas, resources, and talents beyond the walls of the traditional life sciences company;

  • Real World Patient Data: Patient data needs to be treated as an asset and flow through the healthcare ecosystem to build a more complete understanding of patients;

  • Value Analytics: Integrating and analyzing data and information about patients across the healthcare system will yield new insights that, acted on, will improve outcomes for all parties;

  • Patient and Healthcare Professional Services: Improving the patient experience and providing physician and career support with the goal of improving health outcomes.

Life sciences companies need to imbed these four areas into their overall strategy. By thinking about these four areas as part of an overall life sciences digital strategy, companies can transition from discrete and isolated digital initiatives, focused on supporting specific products, to a more comprehensive end-to-end digitally enabled approach that focuses on the patient experience and outcomes and engages the entire ecosystem of providers, payers and other risk bearers.

As an example, Baxter International’s recent ground-breaking launch of the VIVIA Hemodialysis (HD) system is designed to deliver more frequent or extended-duration dialysis by allowing physicians and nurses to comprehensively and remotely monitor home therapy through a physician portal and an alert dashboard. Patients can be treated for end-stage renal disease in their homes, improving patient outcomes and quality of life. The system also frees up capacity in acute care centers, benefiting payers and risk bearing providers.

Another example of a digital innovator is provided by a major global biopharmaceutical company who is collecting, aggregating and analyzing data from providers and patients to determine the precise combination of information and services that deliver the best outcomes for high risk diabetes patients. By identifying patient care gaps and developing interventions, including patient support services, the company expects to significantly reduce costs of care and decrease readmissions and emergency hospital visits. The company is paying for the service based on the outcomes in managing high-risk patients.

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