Factors are converging that make patient-centric initiatives a key business opportunity, not just for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with treatments to develop and market, but increasingly also for those outside of the traditional health care industry.
One of the most important is the rise of technologies for capturing, aggregating and creating value from “big data.” New ways of collecting data — via smartphones and other mobile health devices, for example — will enable more and better data to be gathered from patients in real time to track compliance and other parameters. Similarly, the increasing use of molecular diagnostics to guide treatment will give diagnostics firms a larger measure of control over prescribing, and influence with payers. We have discussed this trend in more depth in our article, “When Illumina Buys Roche: The Dawning of the Era of Diagnostics Dominance.”
Ultimately, we believe the next wave of patient service initiatives is going to come from data aggregators or from the diagnostics industry, rather than pharma. To understand the value of a treatment and whether it was successful or not — a key to value-based pricing — one must be able to access and analyze information on the outcomes before, during and after treatment from patients’ medical records. Doing so requires integrating large amounts of data and the expertise of specialist companies, including those from the information technology sector.
In the U.S. oncology market, for example, we could envision the creation of a patient service platform for tailoring individual prescriptions and treatment approaches that takes into account the factors that really matter to a patient — whether it’s safety, efficacy, or a drug therapy that has as little impact as possible on their lifestyle or their family. Such a platform might help the patient understand what they wanted and offer them the best form of treatment tailored to their needs, preferences, and their budget or health insurance resources. It might even offer the patient a financing solution to help pay for the treatment.
Clearly the rise of new technologies including rapid, low-cost genomic sequencing methods, molecular diagnostics, and advances in information technology that facilitate the mining of actionable knowledge from mountains of data are set to greatly revolutionize health care over the coming years. These advances, combined with market needs for greater medical efficiencies, the ability to show value for money, and the desire of patients for more control over their treatment regimens, presents a greater wealth of new health care business opportunities than ever before.