Life sciences organizations have faced an array of daunting challenges over the past three years: a global health crisis, supply chain disruptions, and an uncertain economic climate, just to name a few. But if we can say that the dust is beginning to settle, we can also look to the future with the knowledge that uncertainty will continue – and that we must be prepared. How can companies prepare for an unpredictable year?
Many pharmaceutical and medical device companies will look inward to standardize and modernize even highly regulated activities. They will rely on novel approaches to specific challenges and apply tailor-made technology to drug and device development. Here’s a closer look at some important industry trends for 2023.
Technological maturity matters
Pharmaceutical companies continue to move forward in their quest to create an end-to-end insight management function. Teams understand that insight generation and analysis are vital to the success of new drug development – but they may not be willing to commit significant business resources to solving the problem.
Fortunately, even in a notoriously conservative and risk-averse industry, leaders are coming around to the idea that they can solve the problem with technology. Next year, pharmaceutical companies will begin to pour both brains and money into the push to put insight management in the spotlight as a strategic pillar of the business.
One way they will do this is by using artificial intelligence to support—not replace—talented people who don’t have the time to manually sift through reams of patient data, medical records, and other important information sources. For pharma teams, 2023 will be the year of realizing that AI can be a benevolent partner rather than an intimidating threat.
What is the danger of ignoring AI? Teams that don’t understand AI applications risk missing out on key insights and all the opportunities they can provide. This can have a particularly significant impact on applications such as precision medicine, where developing the best treatment pathway often requires analyzing information about various aspects of the patient experience.
Although much of this information is derived from structured data from electronic medical records, there is also valuable information contained in the unstructured text of physician notes, referral forms, and medical charts. The development of precision therapies also requires input from global experts who do not necessarily appear in the usual publishing and speaking circles. This is an ideal case for technologies that are specific to the life sciences, where knowledge gaps can prevent the expedient development of precision and targeted therapies.
Adding agility where it matters
Like other industries, pharmaceutical and medical device companies are eager to return to the days of in-person meetings and busy showrooms. But as people return to racking up frequent flyer miles, an old problem rears its head: At personal events, where do the insights go?
How are important observations collected and shared, and how will this information find its way into the mix with data from other channels, such as virtual meetings and social platforms? As organizations balance traditional and technology-based ways of working, technology will remain in the picture to add process and consistency.
What does this look like in practice? Teams will happily fall back on the muscle memory of an in-person medical convention, but it will be far less chaotic: they’ll use social listening to understand hot topics before and during the event, adding relevance to their conversations in real time . They can share observations from the same day in a virtual location and agree on important discussions before packing to go home. And after the event is over, conversations can continue online, with sentiment analysis tools to potentially cut the time from insight to action by weeks or even months.
Increasing the all-important flexibility factor simply gives life science organizations more choice in engaging a truly global audience, eliminating traditional barriers such as travel time and cost, different geographies and different preferred languages. Having experienced firsthand what it’s like to work in a world where travel – even to an office or clinic in town – is impossible, the importance of this flexibility cannot be overstated.
As pandemic-induced restrictions have been lifted, many old habits have returned. Some, like travel and personal meeting, were welcome. Others, such as congressional chaos and the data deluge, were less well received. The year ahead will be about how to move forward with agility and readiness when – not if – the next challenge arises.
Photo: Feodora Chiosea, Getty Images