21/12/2021 | BlogPost
Every year we look ahead to make sense of how the overall healthcare landscape is changing and the specific challenges our clients are likely to be facing in the year ahead.
Below you'll find our list of predictions as to what we expect to see unfolding in the next year with key considerations for each.
We will also discuss more in a webinar dedicated to the life sciences predictions for this year, on January, 21st at 2:00 pm CET. Join us to learn more how how life science companies can stay ahead of the competition in 2022, register here.
The first blockbuster treatments will be launched "digital-only", with the field force orchestrating remotely, supported by online platforms and remote customer service. As a consequence, we will also see the first "carbon-neutral" drug launches as the environmental impact of physical engagement is lessened.
As customer experience / satisfaction becomes critical for engagement, there will be increasing equalization of medical, commercial and market access budgets, with integrated above-brand and brand customer journeys, more cohesive models such as KAM rising to the fore and new KPIs emerging based on positive customer outcomes rather than volumetric inputs.
Data will drive augmented intelligence at the highest level of leadership, with the tactical concept of "next-best action" becoming "next-best strategy" in reacting quickly to market dynamics, new competitors and the opportunity for new indications. This will also see the first Chief Data Scientist / Officer on the board of a major life science company.
A new generation of digital-savvy KOLs will come to prominence, who maintain a deep level of understanding in specific disease areas / pathways based on all modes of intervention – prevention, diagnostics, devices, therapeutics, telemedicine / telehealth and digital therapeutics – based on clinical data and Real World Evidence (RWE). Access to these KOLs will also be democratized across historic geographic borders due to online engagement.
As digital becomes a key part of all functions, from preclinical research right through to late-stage commercialization, specific "digital" roles will start to disappear, and these specialisms instead move to the job descriptions – and required expertise – of all roles. 2022 may well prove to therefore be the peak of "digital" roles and budgets in all areas moving forwards will more evenly balance digital and traditional.
M&A within the digital health space continued to pick up in 2021, Ginger + Headspace, Amwell + Silver Cloud and Conversa, etc and we don’t expect it to slow down in 2022. Funding in 2021 was already exceeding full year 2020 halfway through the year, and we expect the pace to remain in 2022 and the growth in new start-ups continuing. We also expect to see big announcements from FAGMA and other big tech players like Philips as the industry matures and the importance of health moves up on the agendas of these companies, including even the possible purchase of a biopharma company. Life sciences companies will be forced to make significant inroads in their growth within the digital health/digital therapeutics space in order to maintain a competitive edge and will look to partner and/or acquire in order to compete for the right talent and resources to make inroads in this area.
As access and regulatory frameworks begin to materialize in many EU countries and DTx solutions begin to demonstrate impact on patient outcomes and clinical validation, the need for education around what these solutions are is intensifying. If physicians are not educated on what digital therapeutics are, how they work, how they help patients etc, they are very unlikely to prescribe them. The need is acute across the entire HCP and pharmacy population and is needed at both the generalist/primary care level as well as how these solutions impact and support specific specialities and sub-specialities. In addition to HCPs, as industry stalwarts like payors and biopharma companies look to keep their employees up to speed in this rapidly changing area, education is also an on-going need for these employers. Staying up to date on regulations, kinds of solutions available, clinical applications, digital biomarkers etc, will remain an on-going need for many years to come as things continue to evolve and technology matures exponentially.
It’s no surprise that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of many digital health solutions, and remote patient monitoring is no exception. As hospitals look to reduce the duration of hospital stays and readmissions, they will continue to roll-out proven solutions. Recognizing that chronic care management of multiple conditions requires more support between doctor visits in order to effectively manage diseases, HCPs will be providing more tools for patients. These tools will leverage telemedicine, connected devices, wearables, mobile technologies, and in-home devices like smart speakers from Alexa or Google Home will provide seamless interfaces for communication. The development of platforms connecting numerous point solutions together is expected, as the need for coordination between varying solutions addressing multiple conditions for a single patient grows.
The amount of collected RWE keeps increasing, accelerated by the growth of decentralised clinical trials and the need to understand the effect of remedies on quality of life of patients. RWE will also be collected more and more outside the clinical trial setting, to support companion applications, digital therapeutics and software as a medical device solutions. Artificial intelligence will play a growing role on adjusting the experiences of these digital solutions. This will allow greater support and treatment for the patient by adapting intelligently to changes inside and outside the treatment more quickly. More and more Electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment (eCOA) providers will focus on RWE functionalities, and some will even transform to collect data outside clinical trials.
Regulatory frameworks and guidance for digital/DTx will evolve and grow, with particular growth expected throughout the EU, building off of the success of the DiGA program in Germany. Correlated to this, reimbursements for digital health will accelerate. In the US we expect to see Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements to grow.
Delivered with contributions of our Executive Leadership Team.