It’s imperative that businesses are able to innovate and adapt in the ever-changing life sciences market, as these factors will provide considerable advantages in the competition for new business opportunities and allow organizations to shift their focus from simply employing digital tools to operating from a digital agenda.
Consumer-centric business models have gained prominence in recent years across all sectors, and life science industries such as healthcare, medical applications and devices, pharmaceuticals and biological research, have been no exception. Driving this growth is a significant shift in how consumers interact with the suppliers of their goods and services. Customers now prefer their engagements to span seamlessly across multiple channels, including websites, social media, and other digital platforms. This effect trickles down the life sciences value chain, from front-line entities such as doctors and hospitals to less-visible enterprises such as R&D firms.
Pain points in the healthcare and life sciences customer journey often result from a lack of digital investment by healthcare providers drugmakers, bioscience and medical device creators, and imaging partners. Optimizing these interactions and creating forward-thinking customer experiences is not only integral to better patient outcomes but the key to increasing and maintaining profitability.
Defining the Digital Opportunity
The term “digital opportunity” can seem a bit vague. After all, most healthcare and life science entities have already integrated digital functions such as websites and social media into their business strategy. The real digital opportunity is about more than surface technology, though. It’s about transforming the very structure of an organization by combining data, shared resources and results-oriented technology to create positive outcomes. Business decisions must be driven by the customer’s experience, which in turn will shape an organization’s entire framework. Life sciences and healthcare organizations have significant opportunities for digital transformation by extending customer reach, improving the overall customer experience while cultivating new ones and cutting costs by operating more efficiently. To make this happen, organizations will have to go beyond the confines of legacy systems and traditional digital strategies by adopting an “outside-in,” consumer-centric approach.
This evolution requires the elimination of inefficient processes and outdated strategies that put the needs of the company before those of consumers. Customers aren’t the only ones who will reap the benefits of the digital future, however. Organizations also have a lot to gain from moving toward a technological tomorrow. Life science organizations that undergo the digital transformation can expect to excel in all areas, including increased revenues, better customer experiences, new sales opportunities and decreased costs. The digital opportunity can introduce performance-enhancing functions such as:
- The ability to glean insights from dispersed and disparate sources.
- Reliable assessments of the feasibility and probable success of treatment options via analytics.
- Real-time monitoring of customer journeys and organizational processes.
- Comprehensive data visualization that helps companies make better sense of the data they collect.
- Streamlined research and development efforts to increase success rates and decrease time-to-market.
- Improved collaboration between patients, providers, and device and drug suppliers.
It’s imperative that businesses are able to innovate and adapt in the ever-changing life sciences market. These factors will provide considerable advantages in the competition for new business opportunities and allow organizations to shift their focus from simply employing digital tools to operating from a digital agenda.
Digitization is at the heart of the efforts to increase life science revenues. It allows organizations to expand their reach to new clientele while improving the experiences of their existing customers. Digital technology has been shown to boost revenue in three key areas:
- Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Expanded cross-selling and conversion
- The ability to reuse successful assets, such as positive diagnoses, successful treatments, and other comprehensive patient data
Digital transformation initiatives will allow life science and healthcare brands to grow customer reach, improve overall user experience and boost customer retention by establishing a greater presence in the digital market. This means building a relationship with consumers through the personalization and customization of digital channels, as well as through selling products and services both directly and in digital marketplaces. These advantages will also extend to B2B sales opportunities within the life sciences field, further enhancing the overall digital brand.
Adopting a digital strategy reveals savings that were likely unavailable before. New digital strategies will have the biggest impact on efficiency, allowing life science and healthcare organizations to cut costs drastically by automating processes, decreasing the cost of data storage through the cloud, analyzing data quickly and cheaply, remote monitoring of equipment and natural phenomena, and digital marketing to improve public perception using lower-cost communication channels. In addition, improvements, such as automation of internal processes and reliable data analytics, result in substantial savings in structural costs, such as production and resource planning. Digitization also enables data sharing and collaboration across the organization, which in turn increases the agility and responsiveness of every department.
The sharing economy will also become a more practical possibility, further decreasing costs. Providers, manufacturers, and researchers will be able to share technology, data and equipment, opening opportunities that may have otherwise have been foregone due to monetary or location-based limitations. Small, community-based organizations can have access to the same tools and techniques as larger entities, improving patient outcomes and overall consumer experiences. The digital strategy will also help spread the costs of purchasing and maintaining equipment and information across multiple organizations, making these valuable tools more accessible.
Technologically Transforming Life Sciences
Developing a successful digital model in the life science industry is a two-fold proposition. An increasingly fast-paced business environment dictates that organizations be able to boost customer growth and operational efficiency at the same time. Digitizing the customer experience means creating comprehensive, omnichannel interactions that improve diagnoses, treatments, and quality of life. Digitizing internal operations involves leveraging Big Data analytics and visualization to enhance collaboration and increase production. So what is the future of life and health sciences?
Setting Modern Standards for Treatment
Remote monitoring and predictive algorithms can enhance practitioner decision making and replace the need for many non-emergency visits. Routine decisions about treatment can be made via sophisticated programs that pull data from sources across and between organizations to come up with a plan for treatment, including therapies and prescriptions.
Health companies will find the most benefit from conducting regular analysis of the value this approach brings customers and making adjustments accordingly. This includes studies of the long-term health outcomes of computer-recommended treatments, as well as overall customer satisfaction with the process. Doctors and patients can work proactively and cooperatively to better manage existing problems and mitigate potential ones.
Data analytics, remote monitoring, the Internet of Things and cloud systems all work together in the new digital environment to optimize research and outcome modeling. Forecasting is at the forefront of these tasks, predicting events such as flu outbreaks and determining the likely prognosis for various treatment and drug options. This helps life science entities to better allocate resources such as staff, medication, and public health information. Confirming these projections through remote monitoring can allow users to reliably visualize trends and correlations in population health and wellness. This includes tracking natural phenomena, such as weather, that can affect health and injuries, as well as shipping and logistics of medication, vaccinations and other vital health aids.
The same analysis and modeling tools can also be used to monitor equipment in real time, sensing breakdowns and performance reductions as soon as, or even before, they happen. This allows for quick deployment of repairs and decreases the chances of expensive, catastrophic equipment failures.
Empowering New Intermediaries
Convenience is king across the consumer spectrum, and health care patients are no different. Organizations are becoming more aware of opportunities to let people get the care they need without making a doctor’s appointment. Digital technology like the Doctor on Demand app gives patients the ability to get in contact with health care providers for sound, digitally based medicine. These intermediaries can either provide the appropriate counsel or direct patients to additional professionals and resources. These intermediaries are not bound by geography, making them available 24/7, all over the world.
Diagnostic services can also be provided by data gleaned from wearable monitoring devices. Digital technology such as the AliveCor app constantly monitors patient vital signs, checking for irregularities in blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and other functions. The results are automatically transmitted to health practitioners for evaluation.
Rewarding Healthy Outcomes
The digital transformation will also enable better adherence to treatment plans via relevant incentives. For example, healthy activities, such as 30 minutes of exercise, losing five pounds or decreasing blood pressure can be monitored by digital means and then turned into currency. This can be in the form of actual monetary compensation or points that can be redeemed for items.
The life sciences have a broad reach and provide numerous opportunities for institutions to partner with specialized vendors to provide personalized services and offerings. Data analytics provide organizations with in-depth knowledge of their customers, giving them insight into the exact kinds of services they want and need. Companies can then approach others within the technology, insurance, retail and financial services sectors to develop wholly integrated solutions. These health and life science organizations will gain a competitive edge as businesses that truly understand and cater to consumer needs.