How to surf the healthcare disruption tsunami

James Atherton|12th January 2016

‘Innovation’ was arguably the buzzword of 2015, and the phrase ‘beyond the pill’ feels older than the Internet. But, buzzwords aside, it’s still one of the most exciting and broadly ranging topics in healthcare.

Last year, we focussed on how pharma and healthcare could improve on their approach to innovation, particularly around patient services.

Moving into 2016, we want to draw the focus to the issue of tangibly defining value in healthcare innovation and ensuring that the services that pharma and healthcare brands are developing are actually taken up and implemented. Crazy, we know.

Over the last five years or so, businesses’ and brands’ approaches to innovation have been driven aspirationally, but also reactively.

Having seen the disruption that has torn through other industries, and the increasing flow of VC $ and € into healthcare (the projections see an increase on the $4.3B of funding in 2014), they’ve been keen to grab a piece of the pie and, understandably, to not be left behind. It tends to be a result of an almost quixotic push from senior leadership, often with an alarming disregard for accountability.

That’s not to say that this approach hasn’t reaped rewards – these are smart people after all – the likes of Janssen Healthcare Innovation, Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund and Bayer’s Grants4Apps have spawned services that, whilst not delivering the next unicorn to hitch its horn to the post, are delivering value.

But an awkward question is increasingly raising its ugly head:

“Where are the dollars?”
Or…“Ou sont les Euros?”

 

The same senior leaders that dreamt big are now seeing small returns and making serious changes; changes to the way innovation teams are structured, to the way the services themselves are designed and delivered, and how their impact is measured. These changes tend to be driven by some key questions:

  • What is the real, tangible value that is being delivered to patients (often an improvement to outcomes)?
  • How is this value, and the value to professionals, communicated to healthcare professionals (HCPs)?
  • What is the value/cost saving being delivered to payers and the wider healthcare system (and, critically, is the healthcare system in question integrated enough for them to care!)?

So enough chat about the importance of delivering tangible value; what are my tangible tips for businesses and brands looking to surf the wave of disruption in 2016?

 

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