The Life Sciences industry is in a state of flux. Against the backdrop of patent losses and pressure to accelerate time-to-market for new medicines, today’s business realities and governmental reform are driving new models of healthcare. The new models demand lower costs and prioritize positive, measurable outcomes and patient well-being.
Life Sciences organizations are tasked with thinking outside the box to find ways to identify, prioritize and develop promising therapies more quickly; to leverage their existing (and rapidly growing) data to derive meaningful insight; and to maximize efficiency across the full drug lifecycle. When it comes to digital transformation, big data analytics offers a way to accelerate the finding of key connections and insights while enabling faster, data-driven decision making.
The Role of Analytics in Digital Transformation Efforts
It goes without saying, the entire health sciences eco-system needs to shift and transform to realize the most important objective, to improve patient health. Digital transformation and analytics can plan a role here. For example:
- Research teams need to easily collaborate, share information and utilize analytical tools in order to quickly identify promising new compounds and therapies. The Lilly Open Innovation Program is a great example of collaboration in early drug discovery.
- The clinical trial process can benefit from the ability to identify potential patients using tools that analyze a broader set of information sources resulting in a more narrow, specific pool of potential patients to recruit. The use of social media to improve patient engagement and recruitment and the use of mobile devices and wearables to monitor patients in real time contribute to a better understanding of the real world impact of treatments and therapies. The result is trials that are smaller, shorter, and less expensive but with the potential to be more effective.
- Strong Drug Safety efforts can be used as an advantage in regulatory submissions and after regulatory approval, once the drug is on the market. Analyzing safety signals from adverse events, patient inquiries, online communities, and social media can help to highlight potential safety issues more quickly and with greater accuracy.
- Healthcare providers can benefit from a holistic view of a patient’s care. Many patients see multiple specialists in addition to their primary care physician and each often orders tests and prescribe medicines. Doctors are stymied by the plethora of discrete systems and applications that do not talk to each other prohibiting the ability to gain a holistic view of a patient situation, progress and current needs.
Where to Start? Three Areas for Assessment
To reap the benefits that digital transformation and analytics can provide, companies can start by addressing internal process inefficiencies and exploiting opportunities to unify key processes across boundaries with both internal and external partners. To be successful, organizations can start by assessing three areas:
Process efficiency and unification: In many cases, this requires companies to re-look at key processes holistically. In some instances, paper-based processes are still be used such as the use of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for planning regulatory submissions. In other cases, electronic processes were just digitized versions of paper-based processes and don’t maximize efficiency.
Organizational structure: Organizationally, companies need to look at how information flows across the organization. Organizational silos create the discrete systems and applications that often prevent fluid communication. When a clinical study report is needed for a regulatory submission, is your organization exporting and importing this document across systems?
Collaborative Culture: Culturally, the silo’d organizational structure has often resulted in a culture that isn’t used to communicating and transparently sharing information across domains.
Being able to drive value, profitability and positive patient outcomes will require the Life Sciences industry to embrace digital strategies. Key to this is understanding the linkages across a large eco-system, determining how to exploit opportunities for analytical insight, enabling transparency and information access while driving collaboration both internally and externally.
- Does your organization have a digital strategy?
- What initiatives are underway in your area?
- How are you leveraging analytics?