How digitalization will change the life sciences industry

Another interesting event crossed my way recently and shed some light on the ever „hot“ topic of digital transformations and changes in Healthcare, Pharma and Med&Biotech. „Medizin Innovativ - MedTech Summit 2016“ in Nürnberg/Germany took a very close look at digitization as a megatrend also in medicine, with the development of information technologies and innovative care processes to improve treatment and services that patients, providers and the entire health industry benefit from. Different stakeholders and start-ups were discussing several aspects around this very complex topic and its variety of effects. I’d like to highlight just some here that seemed particulartyl important to me.

New players in the field

The fact that new techonlogies and infrastructures quickly emerge with the digitalization of the life science industry, has a big influence on the actual “face” of the industry. What used to be a fairly familiar field of players becomes increasinly disruptive (in a positive way) and is changing rapidly. As we all know by now, change is not only a challenge but also an opportunity for innovation and developments, for economic growth and better care. The new players that are entering the markets and facilitate the digital transformation are giving way for new improved infrastructures and an incorporation of the potentials digital technologies have. But of course it also means that the life sciences industry will not “be the same” anymore and all players (not only the “new” ones) will have to adapt.

Big data and personalized medicine

Digital also means data a lot of the times. It means that doctors with paper sheets, isolated care and full dusty archives are supposed to be history. But collecting data is not nearly enough. The data needs to be utilized and that’s one of the big challenges digitalization poses to life sciences. Not only is it necessary to draw reliable and applicable conclusions from large amounts of data but ethical and legal aspects have to be taken into account as well. Especially in Germany the protection of data privacy is a big part of the discussion. Data management on a big scale and personalized data on a very individual scale are bound to play a vital part in the future shape of the industry and are two very different ends of the same discussion.

Relationship management

What I have outlined so far greatly emphasizes how relationships within the life sciences are changing. New players are entering, structures are reconsidered and outcomes are measured on different scales – that challenges a lot of previously established relationships – be it between doctors and patients, clinics and suppliers, technology and care. That calls for a different and improved relationship management that also needs to focus on different stakeholders and an overall better engagement. It sounds like a handful but I’m fairly certain that those who understand the importance of digital transformation and the role of data (and the necessity to harness it) in the future life sciences industry will be much better positioned to compete and profit from this very development.

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