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Digital Health Plays Music!


Philippe Gerwill
@pgerwill
Digital Health Plays Music!

20-05-2018
Philippe Gerwill

Digitalization is going to disrupt the Healthcare industry as much if not more than it disrupted the traditional musical industry in the last two decade. Many actual signs confirm that analogy and the key difference would only be the speed of the major changes. It is up to the different partners in the healthcare industry from hospitals and doctors to pharmacies and other drug or medical devices manufacturers around the patients to decide if it is going to be “Devastating” or “Amazing”.

The traditional music industry revenue dropped from around 1.5 billion to a few millions only within years while the access to music itself and volume were significantly growing and still continue to grow at double digits rates to about 2.7 billion today. Major music industry players like Sony, Warner, Universal and Emi were not prepared to such a disruption and lost big in the game. They were completely overwhelmed by a bunch of new companies emerging in the digital music space like iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or Deezer to name only a few. The disruption was not only driven by products and technology (from radio/tv to vinyls, cassettes and CDs or MP3s) but also in terms of services with the move from hardware driven to internet based and streaming. But on top of some convergence in the digital music industry the x-convergence initiated by companies like Apple, Google and Amazon added some additional disruption to the industry. The whole forces and dynamics between the old and new music industry players were completely redistributed and created new business models to the benefits of the music consumers.

The same if even not more disruption is going to happen to the Healthcare industry and some of the same x-convergence experienced players like Apple, Google and Amazon are already engaging into the healthcare business alongside other x-convergence companies like Wallmart without forgetting our big digital players from Asia and China like Alibaba or Tencent (Astra Zenecca for example is already partnering with Ali Health and Tencent).

But beyond big companies and the hundreds of smaller startups which are going to flourish through the digitalization in healthcare the key shift which is going to drive the future of the Healthcare industry would be the move from today’s strong dictate where key players like Pharma companies, Providers and Payers are telling the patients what to do, towards a radical consumerization where Consumers and not only Patients would move the arrows into the opposite direction and instruct the other players what they would need.

Below are some of the new trends resulting form that switch:

  •  Patients receive care. Consumers make choices
  • 5% of internet searches are medical related but 80% of internet users have at least done one health related search
  • Consumers are more and more interested in drug free solutions
  • Preventive Healthcare – Moving from Sick care to Healthcare
  • UK Doctors are already prescribing social and wellness activities to improve their patients’ health
  • Pharma has to learn quickly to move from patient data only to consumer data driven

Additionally Online Health Community added to the newly generated and collected digital health data would become key drivers in the overall Healthcare landscape.

  • They provide patients and caregivers with new resources. This can include information, solidarity, and support.
  • They offer new insights to non-patients. Individual clinicians can learn how patients experience their disease and care. Researchers can learn about the processes and outcomes of care
  • They challenge traditional power dynamics between patients and clinicians.
  • They form part of a growing trend in data collection that pushes the boundaries of traditional healthcare

We have already moved to the New Digital Heath Model after the initial shift from the Paper-based to the Traditional Digital health Model with a major focus on trust.

The speed of changes would also be key and emerging markets would just leapfrog the intermediate steps as quickly as possible.

At the end, the actual major Healthcare Industry players would all have a role to play in that future but it would be fundamentally different. Up to each player to resist or embrace that future and to decide if there is “Cold Weather” or a “Bright Future” ahead.

In my eyes there are many opportunities if we accept the changes and new business models:

  • New Insights through additional and new data and data points including x-convergence from social media
  • New discovery and treatments
  • Easier, quicker and more efficient clinical trials onboarding
  • Expedite drug to market process
  • Personalized medicines
  • Earlier diagnosis
  • Broader access to drugs and healthcare (towards UHC Targets)
  • Improved Pharmacovigilance

The final recommendations which I would summarize here, are:

1. Focus on the customer application

2. Build digital into the core business

3. Engage the entire business in the transformation

4. Move quickly

5. Look outside

6. Experiment, but scalably

7. Start with leadership

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