By Thomas Schjødt, Head of IT Management at NNIT
What happens when digital patient centric solutions surpass the most potent drugs?
One of the most interesting questions in the life sciences industry is how to do digital transformation in regulated environments. The first company that manages to provide a digital packaging that makes their product more than the drug itself will have a competitive advantage, which may not be easily copied or acquired. CEOs expect that by 2020 46% of the customer-perceived value proposition of their product and service will be digital (Gartner Symposium 2016). Consequently, leading blockbuster drug companies may see the value of their patents eroded by digital packaging and elements such as intelligent apps, patient communities and ingenious wearables.
Obviously, the decision makers of the Life Science industry are very aware of this. Yet, it is striking that there is not more focus on digital transformation and digital health. Research shows that the Life Science industry is late to adopt digitalization (Global Center of Digital Business Transformation 2016), even though these initiatives take up limited resources compared to the investments needed for fractional improvements in the active ingredients of drugs. My experience is that decision makers deter from taking action because of lack of good show cases and a general belief that compliance to FDA and EU regulations makes the transformation difficult or near impossible.
In NNIT Consulting we experiment with answers to these questions on a daily basis. We build apps that track disease progressions taking into consideration that the use of data requires formalized consent. We build an "Internet of Me" that brings new insights on the health status of the individual in a regulated environment. We experiment with video presentations to support patient information leaflets without ending up in a situation where the patient's iPhone is turned into a FDA regulated entity.
Our recommendation is to focus on digital innovation first and then consider regulation. We have learned to embrace innovative processes together with patients and develop small prototype projects to proof test the digital aspects of ideas. Then bring in the regulation experts to secure regulatory compliance and start testing the idea in the marketplace. But most importantly, fail fast and dare, the upside is there.
Thomas Schjødt has 20 years of experience in management, management consulting and information technology. He has worked with IT and business transformation across industries. Currently, he fronts a management consulting unit at NNIT and advises clients on how to manage their digital business.
NNIT Digital Transformation Insights is a regular column where prominent NNIT consultants share their thoughts on current and future digital transformation.
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