Healthcare & Life Sciences

Top 5 digital technology trends in Life Sciences in 2021

In its ‘Covid-19: Accelerating digital transformation for Life Sciences’, Reuters states: “COVID-19 has placed the life sciences industry in Europe under extreme pressure, testing it like no other event. Lockdowns have shocked the system and exposed shortcomings, forcing every function to evaluate and adapt its roles and responsibilities almost overnight.” 

To adapt to this new operating environment, Life Sciences organizations need to look afresh at the digital technologies they are implementing. In 2021, there are five technology trends in Life Sciences that should receive special attention.

AI and analytics

2020 was the year that Life Sciences saw just how far-reaching an impact AI will have in the sector – from recruiting clinical trials to underpinning the development of precision medicine to the creation of a vaccine supply chain. Little surprise that healthcare leaders place AI at the top of their digital priority list. The ability of AI and analytics to automate processes, surface insight in product development and operation, and enhance decision-making will be more vital as we move to less face-to-face contact and more virtual channels producing mountains of valuable data.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

While the hype around IoMT has been strong, progress could best be described as steady. However, the impetus from COVID-19 will speed adoption of this technology. From clinical trials to telemedicine to automated home help for the elderly and disabled, smart drugs, connected wearables, sensors and devices will start to have a profound effect on the way services are delivered.  For example, Forbes reports that, prior to COVID-19, estimates for virtual healthcare visits in 2020 was 36 million but the true figure was much closer to one billion. Life Science experts expect this to increase in 2021.

Data integration platforms

This year, the growth in AI and IoMT will increase the focus on unified data integration. The amount of data being created and collected on every individual is growing massively and Life Sciences and healthcare organizations have the challenge of making sense of more data coming from more sources. This data is being produced in many formats and standards. A lack of data integration acts as an impediment to innovation and adapting to new operating environments. A recent Accenture report found that today less than half of healthcare organizations use an integration platform. This year, data integration platforms rise up the CIO agenda as they look to drive innovation and operational excellence across everything from development to operations to supply chain to lifelong patient care.

Cloud Content Management

If there’s a technology area that COVID-19 threw into stark relief, it’s current content strategies. Life Sciences have found themselves unprepared to meet content needs in an increasingly digital world. Reuters found that over 40% of Life Sciences companies felt their content strategy was a hindrance to virtual engagements and, as a result, almost 80% had started to redefine their content strategy to deal this new cloud-driven operating environment. It can be challenging to move all your processes to the cloud with all the types of regulated content and data in the organization. Companies will embrace cloud content management solutions that create effective content workflows that integrate seamlessly with other systems and business functions, inside and outside the organization. Cloud content management will have an increasing role to play in easing and speeding engagement, submission, regulatory and governance processes.

Information security

Cybersecurity has always been close to the top of any IT agenda and that’s going to be especially true for Life Sciences in 2021. The race for a COVID-19 vaccine saw Biotech companies come under increasing cyberattack. It’s an area of extreme concern especially as the life sciences ecosystem grows and companies increase collaboration. Information security professionals have long understood that attacks will happen, and breaches will occur, so there’s a pressing need to build an effective cyber resilience strategy. This year, there will be an increased focus on identity-centric information security. The increased cooperation and information sharing we witnessed in 2020 will continue, as Life Sciences organizations will need to securely connect people, systems and things with digital identities to improve collaboration and prevent data breaches.

If you’d like to learn more about the services that OpenText™ delivers to the Life Science supply chain, please visit our website.

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Ferdi Steinmann

Nearly 25 years of experience in driving strategy & commercialization efforts in Biotech & Pharma with an exclusive focus in Life Sciences (LS) strategic planning and industry marketing efforts for enterprise software solutions. Today I am responsible for the LS global industry strategy development at OpenText. I am energized by strategies that deliver on their promises

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