Life sciences have seen constant and impressive growth, and it is one of the industries in which Denmark has put its greatest trust for the future. Annual exports in the sector are more than 13 billion GBP, and the number will most likely triple within the next 10 years, according to the “Restart team for life science and biotech”.
With the creation of 83,000 jobs so far, it is no wonder that we in Denmark are investing heavily in moving in that direction. But what has driven life science’s success so far is not enough to lead the sector to further success. There are new rules of the game on the way - and it is the patients who are in the lead. As in many other sectors, patients as end users are demanding not only access to the right medicine and treatment, but they also want to be involved, listened to, and engaged in the specific situation they are in - and not just seen as patients. They themselves are seeking out more information from many different experts and channels, and are increasingly in interacting directly with the manufacturers who make up a larger ecosystem of partners with far more data. Above all, companies need to be able to move their services and interactions closer to the patients, in order to remain relevant. And the companies across the sector, big and small, are already up and running with this work.
Traditional drug products are complemented by new patient-oriented services, offering more digital interaction, and global partnerships are being established with big players and small healthtech startups. But that is not enough in itself to make new opportunities available in the market. In our work within life sciences, both globally and in Denmark, we have identified four areas that you as a leader should connect with in order to move "closer to the patient" in the way your company operates.
Previously patients were primarily interested in a product for the treatment of a disease, but now they want to buy a product from a company that, overall, can play a central role in providing solutions across a their whole world. Focused on patients and an understanding of their needs across different segments, all life science companies should therefore rethink the role they would like to play for patients throughout the value chain from R&D and the development of new products to sales and customer service / advice.
You have a unique position in the ecosystem around the patient, which makes it possible to take a larger role in the patient's world. As a company, you can, for example, enter into partnerships with large players and small healthtech startups that can influence the patient's daily life in order to create an overall better experience, not least in focusing the treatment around the patient.
Once you have understood the patient's needs, you must then decide what experience you would like to offer your patients, how the patients should feel they are recognised by you in different situations, and how you ensure a consistent experience. That should be across channels that relate to the individual’s situation and not just the product. It must be thought about in the context of your different customer segments, who have different buying patterns and digital behaviour patterns. This could be through apps or other digital platforms that make it possible to target content to different customer segments, to play a greater role in the treatment of their disease and to create a closer relationship between the patient and the company.
In order to be able to design the entire digital customer journey for your different customer segments, you should get clarity about which data sources you already have and how they can and may be used. Data is the key to personalising and optimising your relationship with the patient to ensure a targeted and improved customer experience.
There are a number of new technologies that can be used smartly to get to know your customers better. This could be through the use of Artifical Intelligence (AI), where you can, for example, use Machine Learning to develop different patient profiles and continuously collect data on behaviour and trends or use data from new data sources such as connected devices to proactively advise patients in a more personal way.
A central part of the discussion you must have as a company is not only about what you want to be for whom, but to a large extent also how.
The development and launch of, for example, digital solutions for patients requires that you rethink structure, competencies, processes, data, technology, time horizon and customer service needs in relation to the traditionally more research-intensive and long-term product development initiatives. With the level of competence that already exists in the industry, it is largely a question of making new connections across the organisation and with the relevant external partners. Think about where you need to be able to act faster and more flexibly in relation to new opportunities. This will create clarity for both your customers and employees and ensure that you can continue to focus on ensuring you have a value-creating position in the market.
Things are still going strong in the life sciences sector right now - and you have every opportunity to continue to do so. Think carefully about what it will mean for your business model to keep up with the developments in patients' needs - and keep up the pace by adjusting the direction of travel.
Download PA's latest report on choreographing patient centricity – pharma's big opportunity as service integrators