Point of View

To drive patient-centricity, the life sciences industry needs to stop acting like a B2B industry

April 17, 2020

The life sciences industry must balance intense margin pressure with significant reputational risk. The industry has to transform while simultaneously managing pricing pressures, low R&D returns, and a changing product mix (rise of biologics, personalized medicine, and med-tech). Will COVID-19 become the burning platform that pushes the life sciences industry to undertake a fundamental transformation? Is there a silver lining to this sad pandemic that has engulfed the globe?


HFS recently participated at an event (yes, physical events were a thing one month ago!) organized by Infosys titled Consumerization of medical devices: the road ahead for pharma and healthcare. The event aimed to convey the shift in technology distribution from a B2B model to one that incorporates and interacts with consumers and patients. As the world becomes hyperconnected through social media and other platforms, the voice of the customer has never been so powerful; therefore, it has become an increasingly important point of consideration in the life science industry (see Exhibit 1).



Exhibit 1: The future of life sciences and prioritizing people




Sample: 31 life sciences executives

Source: HFS Research, 2019




Med-tech advancements promise significant improvements in patient experience


At the Infosys event, executives from Medtronic and Boston Scientific spoke of their efforts to disrupt their respective platforms by pioneering the shift toward a customer-centric design approach. With the use of advanced technology, products are becoming smaller and less invasive while collecting immense amounts of data that benefit both patients and doctors. In this way, chronic illness is monitored to reduce strain on patients; the ultimate goal is complete maintenance automation, allowing patients with a chronic illness to lead a normal life.


These companies are creating much smaller and less-invasive devices to continuously monitor patients’ internal systems. This allows for the patient to be much more mentally at ease about their chronic illnesses; they can be confident that their doctors have access to accurate electronic data about their condition, and less immediately stressed about regularly monitoring their condition manually. The patient and physician can manage personal healthcare plans based on individualized data gained by monitoring these devices. With these devices, patients will regain some autonomy and comfort while still receiving the medical treatments necessary to sustain a quality lifestyle.


Patient-centricity also requires a OneOffice mindset, but it remains a pipe dream


Technology alone cannot drive patient-centricity. Far too often, we have dumbed down customer-centricity to mean “an attractive UI.” But real customer-centricity requires a seamless connection across sales, operations, finance, customer service, and the entire supply chain. We need to break down the front-, middle-, and back-office silos in our organizations. There should be only One Office that matters—and that is the office that caters to the customers.


It is evident through Exhibit 2 that life science executives are actively pursuing the OneOffice business model. In this survey of life science executives, 100% of executives in life sciences aspire to achieve at least some aspects of the OneOffice business model. Yet depicted in Exhibit 3, all of these organizations are in various steps to achieving this goal with a whopping 0% having already achieved it. There is proof of a shift in mindset and approach of executives in the life sciences industry, yet we are still in the midst of transition.



Exhibit 2: Life sciences executives dream of OneOffice implementation




Sample: 20 life sciences executives

Source: HFS Research, 2018




Exhibit 3: Life sciences executives have yet to achieve the dream




Sample: 20 life sciences executives

Source: HFS Research, 2018



But the OneOffice also might not be enough by itself. For life sciences, the need to collaborate with all sectors involved (life sciences, healthcare, and the public sector) is necessary. This is extremely difficult; capitalism and competition have historically pitted these sectors against each other to turn a profit in any area.


The Bottom Line: Technology alone will not drive patient-centricity. Business models also need to change.


In this hyperconnected future, customer experience has become increasingly important. To adapt, life sciences enterprises must shift gear and put differences behind them to create a healthier unified marketplace. As the OneOffice experience is on the minds of life science executives, the future of business rests on developing a more cohesive business ecosystem.

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