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I had the chance to represent DayOne at the MSD’s Next Gen Network in Lucerne earlier this month to discuss digital transformation in the Life Sciences and Healthcare industry. This was a great event with presentations, on digital transformation along the industry’s value chain. The crowd was definitively great, it is not often that one can mingle with 100+ upcoming talents from a company such as MSD!

The main message of my presentation was that success in transformation will not so much be about managing technology but much more about pro-actively creating, engaging and honing innovation ecosystems.

Healthcare, the business environment for Life Sciences industries is evolving rapidly. After much doomsday news about a disrupted industry, followed by an initial phase of experimentation and piloting, the industry is now adapting rapidly and accelerating the transformation of its business models. The end-point of this transformation can probably best be described as data-driven platform models.

Sign-posts of this transformation are the recent first launches of Digital Therapeutics, the large scale and patient centric collaborations with tech players as well as the increasingly growing number of examples of forward integration of Life-Sciences companies in the business model of Healthcare providers.

In this transformation journey, there are three things the industry will need to get right:

1.       Patient centricity. Making the patient the heart of the industry business model is the main prerequisite. It will mean connecting and engaging with patients, collecting longitudinal data and moving towards digital epidemiology. The combination of fitness and health data with a much broader set of data is needed allow the deeper insights needed to provide the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.

2.       Healthcare systems: The widening of the scope of the industry’s business beyond sickcare towards the broader management of health.  Healthcare systems globally are extremely inefficient, mainly because of their complexity and fragmentation. The industry has a role in participating in the reduction of this fragmentation. This means broadening the attention towards aspects related to health, that were probably outside of the attention of pharma (and even of healthcare providers) such as the determinants of health.

3.       Healthcare data (and ethics). The industry will need to engage and participate in the development of the Ethical framework condition to enable the above (and more). Health data is of too much societal value to be left in siloed. Harnessing this value will require that stakeholders (including the industry) define and agree how this data is governed and managed.

While there is rapid progress, transformation in healthcare is a constant uphill battle. Why?

Firstly, no single industry participant has all the assets required to solve these problems. Secondly,, because Healthcare problems are what is called “wicked problems”, where incentives are often misaligned that require collaborative approaches to be solved. These collaborative approaches require a different mindset and culture to happen. Such a cultural change requires to move out of one’s comfort zone, which the industry has not done much yet up to now.

The way forward will be for the industry to master the ability to collaboratively innovate with the ecosystem. The industry is starting to learn to do so and multiplying initiatives aimed at engaging the ecosystem in innovative approaches such as hackathons, acceleration and incubation programs. To be successful on the long term, these new approaches should no remain one-off initiatives, but rather become a natural extension of internal ways of working. These will need to be re-learned in a concerted effort. This includes, for example, deploying Innovation trainings, making design sprints part of the daily routine through to setting up innovation Labs to connect with the external world.

The key to transformation success will be the ability to engage and co-create with the broader healthcare ecosystem, from patients, healthcare providers and payors and beyond, from start-ups, technology and other industry participants. This engagement is not given and the industry will need to earn its place at the healthcare innovation table.

This place will be earned by proactively engaging, honing and providing value to the healthcare ecosystem.

Activating the local healthcare ecosystems is what we do at DayOne. DayOne is the healthcare innovation initiative by BaselArea.Swiss: