Five years ago—recognizing that the shift to value-based, personalized health care would have a profound and transformational impact on the industry—we launched ConvergeHEALTH. Our goal was to team up with leading health care institutions, technology companies, life sciences innovators, and patient advocacy groups to create new platforms and solutions to support this transformation for the benefit of patients.
Advances in science, the digitization of health, and insights from the resulting real-world data made it possible to develop this new entity. Our five-year journey has given us the opportunity to work with many talented individuals and organizations to accomplish a common goal: Determine how technology can be used to improve the health of patients and to benefit society. As we look forward to the next five years, I wanted to share five observations that we believe will continue to drive us toward a value-based and personalized health care model:
- The patient is finally at the center: With the adoption of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards, and application programming interface (API)-based approaches to health information, we are quickly moving toward a model where the patient truly controls his or her health information in a convenient and secure way. The patient will eventually become the data-aggregation point for all of their data. This powerful shift will empower patients to share their data with parties they trust and enable an ecosystem of innovators to create connected devices, apps, and other services to support patients. It will also encourage every stakeholder in the health care ecosystem to rethink how they engage and support patients—from conducting clinical trials to determining how to pay for care.
- Value-based everything is the new normal: Five years ago, the industry was just beginning to experiment with value-based payment models. At the time, however, information systems and analytics platforms were not in place to support this shift. As the industry continues to move forward, the variety of value-based arrangements is becoming broader, and the pace of change is accelerating. For example, value-based contracts between pharmaceutical manufacturers and health plans are becoming more common. Such arrangements will be essential for creating truly personalized therapies. The drive to value has changed the way care is provided, and the rise of personal financial responsibility has driven the patient-as-a-consumer behavior. These trends will continue to be supported by new digital-engagement platforms to drive and measure outcomes.
- Personalized medicine is about to be mainstream: The scientific strides we have made in understanding the underlying mechanisms of health and disease is quickly being translated into health care practice. While new cellular therapies are becoming available for oncology, they are also being developed for other diseases. While exciting, these new therapies might create new challenges—from clinical-trial design, to a need for a personalized supply chain, to questions about how these therapies will be financed. Answering these questions will require industry incumbents to think and rethink their research and development (R&D) enterprises, supply chains, patient-support organizations, and partnership models.
- The age of digital health and digital therapeutics has begun: Health care leaders are defining their digital strategies to act as an enabler, accelerator, and innovator of capabilities and initiatives that deliver better outcomes. User experience and design efforts will meet the patient and physician with what they need at the right time in the patient journey, and support new models such as care at home. Creating meaningful digital experiences across all engagement channels will inspire and empower patients to take an active role in their health. In addition, we are seeing increasing evidence that digital-engagement platforms can improve patient outcomes as well as quality of life. These digital therapeutics could revolutionize many disease areas, and might make it possible for high-quality care to be delivered in the patient’s home or in other low-cost settings.
- Evidence is king as R&D goes digital: The traditional drug-development model is facing headwinds as illustrated in our annual R&D productivity study. Projected returns on investment in R&D are at the lowest levels we’ve seen since 2010 when we began tracking these trends. New digital health platforms promise to address some of the productivity challenges. However, we expect that structural and transformative change will come from the use of real-world evidence across the entire evidence lifecycle. Our annual real-world evidence benchmarking survey of major biopharmaceutical companies indicates the use of real-world evidence has accelerated in both breadth and depth. Along with helping to demonstrate the value of therapeutic products, RWE is increasingly being used to address regulatory requirements, drive drug development, support outcomes-based contracts, and reduce the time it takes to bring products to market. Over the next five years, artificial intelligence and machine learning will likely be applied to existing patient information and new real-world data that is being generated by wearables and other digital-health technologies.
As I look to the future, I am excited and optimistic about what lies ahead. We are truly at the beginning of the digital and data driven transformation of health care.