Imagine a world where machines know more about your well-being than you do—a world where an iPhone push notification warns you that you’re developing the flu, before actually developing the tell-tale symptoms. Or, a world where your medication is immediately available at one of the nearest pickup points (or perhaps even brought to you by a small autonomous quad-copter). Imagine an ambulance pulling up to your home to take you to the hospital, just a few minutes before your heart attack has happened.
This world isn’t very far away. The questions are: what is your role in this world, who are your customers, and how do you get ready to take advantage of the opportunities it brings?
The innovative application of both established and emerging technologies (wearables, embedded diagnostics, robotics, and artificial intelligence) is creating huge market opportunities to delight patients and customers. In the face of this disruptive potential, industry incumbents must fully reimagine their customer relationships, strategic partnerships, and cultures – or else be displaced.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already progressed to have the capacity to diagnose many human ailments just as effectively as human clinicians. AI can then recommend appropriate treatment, often without requiring any human intervention.
The fundamental process of discovering and manufacturing new drugs and healthcare products remains a critical function for organizations, but AI is rewriting the rules around how to bring these products to market.
Payor pressure is compounding these sales and marketing uncertainties, with payors increasingly structuring commercial arrangements based on outcomes. This means that only those companies that can measure the impact of their drugs, healthcare products and services will be successful. Everyone else will become a commodity supplier in the value chain.
The winners will be those who understand that owning the end customer or patient relationship—and being able to respond quickly to their rapidly changing expectations—are the real differentiators for patients, payors, and partners.
The future will be characterized by personalized and responsive healthcare, requiring the ability to capture, analyze, and respond to real-time customer and patient data, and measure outcomes at an individual patient level.
This time has never been more uncertain, but it’s also never been more exciting. The incoming wave of disruption will fundamentally change the face of the life sciences and healthcare industries and will bring huge—even life-saving—benefits to patients and customers.
So, how best to respond to this market disruption? A good starting point is to focus on the following:
Get ready for disruption. Embrace it before others do. Far better cannibalizing your own business than a competitor taking it from you. This is often very challenging for an existing organizational culture – don’t underestimate the energy required to overcome this.
Recognize that you must own the end customer relationship if you don’t want to become a commoditized part of the value chain. Build the most engaging and responsive patient experiences and the underlying capabilities to deliver them.
Look for partners that can make sure you are part of an integrated end-to-end healthcare ecosystem (remote monitoring, detection and diagnosis, products and treatment services, care, and ongoing well-being).
Siri, Alexa, and self-correcting cars are a few of the many everyday reminders that AI is just starting to revolutionize our world. While many industries look to AI to create efficiencies and cost savings, it brings the potential for even greater triumph in healthcare and life sciences: the capacity to deliver higher-touch, more personalized experiences and, ultimately, an improved ability to save lives. In an outcomes-focused world where proactive and responsive healthcare becomes the standard, organizations must first build the capacity to respond quickly to real-time feedback and constantly shifting demands.
For more on building the capability to transform and differentiate with AI, please see our white paper, “Artificial Intelligence and the Revolution of Work.”