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July 22, 2014
The Patient Impact of Digital Disruption in Life Sciences
By: Sunil Rao

Earlier this year, Accenture Technology Labs released the Technology Vision for 2014, our annual view of emerging tech trends that impact our clients. The report outlined how every business is still a digital business, but explored a recent trend with large companies successfully using digital technologies through a combination of social, mobile, analytics and cloud, to turn the tables on startups that have been so successful in disrupting and reshaping entire industries.

The life sciences industry is on the precipice of a digital disruption. Accenture’s Life Sciences Technology Vision 2014 report outlines the importance of becoming digitally enabled; explores the impact of digital on the industry; lists the benefits and characteristics of a digital leader; and highlights the potential of using digital as a competitive advantage.

We predict that within the next three years the life sciences industry will see a dramatic change in its digital maturity which will provide limitless opportunities to fundamentally change the role life sciences companies play in healthcare. The catalyst is the wealth of data available including patient electronic medical records, payer information, behavioral information, and clinical research information. Imagine if life sciences companies could seamlessly connect information about patients and patient populations across the many sources and types of data trapped in silos across the industry? The industry would be able to “pivot to the patient”, in the same way retailers, such as Amazon, used the emergence of digital technology to “pivot to the consumer” and change their role from a simple e-retailer to a trusted provider that anticipates consumer needs and lends product advice and services.

By accessing the vast data sources, research will be more focused on the needs of patient populations and life sciences companies will have the opportunity to combine treatments and services to optimize patient outcomes and provide evidence of value to the overall healthcare system. This has fundamental implications for the way life sciences companies research, produce, distribute, market and sell products.

To achieve the benefits, life sciences companies will need to review their current business models and define how they need to evolve to become digitally enabled organizations. In many cases, this will include transitioning from today’s discrete and isolated digital initiatives to a more comprehensive end-to-end digitally enabled approach that focuses on the patient experience and outcomes, while engaging the entire ecosystem of providers, payers and other risk bearers. By taking this “outside in” perspective, life sciences companies can shape the future to collaborate, connect and contribute to a revolution in health care.

In my next post, I’ll tell you more about the four areas that set apart the digital leaders in life sciences and to understand how this can be applied to your businesses’ digital strategy.

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