Chat: We can be Heroes – Pharma’s Purposeful 2022 Outlook
Pharma’s transformation journey is still ongoing, but more than ever, we’re searching to deliver more meaningful, high-value experiences to patients, payers and physicians.
From commercial excellence to making patient-centricity a reality, this conversation explores the challenges and opportunities of the upcoming year.
In this session, we cover:
- The biggest lessons learned in 2021, and how they are impacting our priorities for 2022
- How efforts to personalize the customer experience will shift over the next year
- Investments in technology and organizational change the life sciences industry can make to be more patient-centric in 2022
Watch Aktana present with other industry leaders at Pharma’s Purposeful 2022 Outlook Chat
Good morning. Good afternoon, depending, of course, where you are located. Today, welcome to our last webinar/chat for this year. We really did a lot different initiatives from virtual events, webinars, chats, and so on. In overall, I think we had more than 5000, 6000 people who interacted and engaged with Next, which is a huge milestone for us. So of course, thank you all for that.
And this is for sure the crème de la crème of the pharma industry we whom speak today with whom we chat today in the spontaneous chat to outlook our next year, and really pleased to welcome extraordinary speakers. Let’s start first with Francesca Wuttke, Francesca Wuttke from Almirall. Hi Francesca. How are you?
Hi, everyone. Sorry. I’m just having some technical issues. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see me shortly, but thank you so much, Dario and NextPharma for inviting me. I’m pleased to be here. I’m Francesca Wuttke, the chief digital officer at Almirall.
Thank you, Francesca. Then, we have Craig Lipset, the founder and advisor of Clinical Innovation. Craig, same question to you. Tough one. How are you?
Hey, I’m doing all right. I am ready for the coming holiday break. It’s a pleasure to be here with you and this fabulous group of panelists in your audience. What an amazing set of numbers you’ve had for the year. Congratulations, Dario, on keeping this community connected. So I’m a drug developer and focused on innovation and clinical development. I do advisory and board work. I teach on the faculty at Rutgers University and Health Informatics, and also serve as a patient and advocate in the sarcoidosis patient community.
Thank you, Craig. Speaking about patients, Teresa Ferreiro, a real patient advocate. Hi, Teresa. How was it going? Everything fine?
Yeah. Thank you. Hi, everybody and so happy to be here. Thank you. Thank you once again for inviting patients to raise their voice in the industry and in this panel. It’s always very nice. I had breast cancer years ago. And after that, it started this journey of really wanting to support patients in the form of empowerment. I’m a certified coach and basically the message that I defend all the time is to empower patients through helping them connect with themselves and who they are. So you will hear me talk more about that later.
Thank you, Teresa. Emma Booth from Amgen, Emma, same question. All fine?
I’m okay. Thank you. Very excited by today’s conversation and, yeah, very excited to meet the other panelists.
Florent Edouard, who always supports us. So thank you, Florent. And same question. How are you?
I’m good. I’m actually on holidays, and I just like to hang around with folks like you. So thanks for inviting me.
Thank you, Florent. And Derek Choy from Aktana. Derek, same question, a tough one. How are you?
I’m doing really well. I’m really excited to be here with everyone. It’s morning here. So just getting into my nice big cup of coffee as we’re commenting before. Great to see you. Great to be here.
Thanks a lot. So let’s deep dive into the conversation. And I would like to start with the overall learnings from this year maybe we can start learning from clinical trials to medical affairs and at the end to finish with patient engagement because that’s actually the flow of how it should be right, more or less. So my first question would be what would be your biggest learnings for this year and how this actually is impacting your priorities for the upcoming year? Let’s start with you, Craig.
So, I think for me, one of the biggest lessons learned is how many people are not willing to let a crisis go to waste. For me, this has been phenomenal to watch the momentum of people that are focusing their time right now on establishing commitments with urgency. So, I spend my time in clinical research and clinical trials. And a lot of the momentum there has clearly been around this theme of decentralizing shifting location for participation and just how many leaders and organizations are seizing this as an opportunity to commit to change in their organizations.
They know that the winds of change will slow, and they want to establish enough momentum in 2021 and into 2022 that these commitments will outlast the pandemic that the change will persist. I think that there’s a lot of sense of urgency right now for people to make those commitments. But I think there’s also a lot of angst and concern on the minds of many as far as will our organizations continue to be willing to take thoughtful risk in 2022 and beyond. And how do we establish commitments there? How do all of us help to make sure that the willingness that we had in ’21 to try new things that that pulls through after the pandemic?
Thank you, Craig. Teresa, I suggest you can maybe continue from the patient angle.
Yeah. I’m nodding while I hear Craig talking because I totally agree that we want to learn from what happened here. And I think that both from the patient perspective and from the industry, there’s been this new situation where we all have to adapt. And it was very nice to see how the patient was more open to digital, to tools that before maybe they were not so open to.
So the industry had easier to reach them. And also from the industry side, we saw, as patients, how they were also willing to listen more to what we were needing in terms of how can we help you, which maybe before the pandemic was not so obvious or was not so easy somehow, so in a way, the pandemic made it easier for all of us to go in the same direction. I think that’s very, very positive.
Thank you, Teresa. Let’s hear the voice of medical affairs and recently, R&D, Emma, same question to you. How would you sum it up and your biggest learnings for next year?
Thank you. Yeah. And really great insights already from the other panel members. And I think it’s been great to kind of emphasize what Craig mentioned that the opportunity to collaborate and the desire to do so, I think a big change in mindset is everybody coming together and saying, “Well, how can we make it happen? And how can we work together a little bit more and do this compliantly.”
So I think that’s a great kind of advancement for the industry, not just within our own organizations, but I think between organizations. We’re seeing a lot more opportunities that will build for the future. And then, I think big learnings is digital is great. It’s brought us a long way. Not everything works.
And I think for some people it’s quite a difficult pill to swallow. So what we see is of being of interest and valuable and consumed is often greater emphasis on the medical side and the beyond the molecule discussions and less on the commercial elements. I think across the board, we’re finding it very hard to make virtual booths at Congresses appealing, and we’re not seeing the same traction. I think it’s also very difficult though, as a company, to kind of take this stance and be the person that’s not there. So we’re having to weigh up how we prioritize in 2022 or how we further enhance that experience to encourage people to want to participate there.
I think I really liked that comment about thoughtful risk and not losing everything we’ve gained and having that sense of willingness. Absolutely. I think in 2022 though, we need to look at the changing model, try and bring some stability and to really capitalize and prioritize. So it will be about doing those things thoughtfully, not just from perspective of internal resource, sort of allocation and appropriation, but also for the external people. We’re all suffering from digital fatigue. So we need to make sure that what we’re doing is high impact and high value, like what you’re doing today, Dario.
Let’s move forward to technology and speak with you, Derek. Somehow, you are articulating actually all of our initiatives through technology, which is nowadays extremely important. So what are your biggest learnings this year and how do you see the upcoming year.
Yeah. I think Emma was saying something really important there about digital and also the challenges there. In 2021, we saw life science companies continue to accelerate how they engage with physicians across every channel including digital and remote channels, but with the field also coming back into the mix.
And I think we’re beginning to recognize that if you don’t have the right coordination and orchestration when you do that, then, that engagement can sometimes result in physician experience that are not optimal. For example, having uncoordinated overlaps or unintended relationship gaps or digital fatigue as Emma was saying.
And I think that gets accentuated because physicians now are really expecting as consumers themselves personalization. And so in the last six months, we’ve seen companies really turn their focus to finding ways to coordinate that engagement across those channels. And we saw a huge increase in the number of AI-driven omnichannel recommendations that we’ve been helping companies make.
And we also saw companies start out to move from doing POCs and phase rollouts of these things to much broader 40 country rollouts, deployments across every therapeutic brand and channel, because I think people are realizing that it’s really important to do this to have that right impact of customers. And so, if I look forward to 2022, I think a lot more of the same, a lot of acceleration in this area. We expect to see a real focus on people implementing AI in a scalable and cost effective way focused on that.
And I think it comes down to building the right foundations, standardizing data, models, use cases so you can adapt it later. And then balancing AI and campaigns and rules so that we minimize the amount of manual work it takes to make a system like this.
Thank you, Derek. Florent, from the commercial side, biggest learnings, outlook for next year.
Well, so I think the two key learning, the first one is healthcare is a good industry to be in a sense that the general public turn to healthcare to get solutions for the crisis. And I think overall the end square has been positive. The response has been good. And the feedback is we are no more at the same level in terms of popularity as the drug or the weapon industry.
So that means from a mental moral perspective, it’s a good thing to be there. The second thing is what makes a true difference. It’s a people. It’s a people in the organizations who have taken on themselves to collaborate in new ways who have narrowed down with the 20 project they were working on in parallel, maybe down to four or five. They’re focused to make a difference.
And I think for 2022, that means we need to double down on our people. We need to give them runway entrepreneurial mindset. We need to equip them with tools. We need to equip them with learning so that they can deliver even more. And I think that’s how can change the way we are delivering in scale across the globe. So I’m very hopeful for next year.
Okay. And I left Francesca as last cause I think your role is extremely challenging when you speak about the digital aspect, because you are collaborating from clinical trials, patient engagement, commercial, pure digital, and so on. So what are your biggest learnings? And take your time.
Well first, I fully agree with everything that’s been said by my esteem colleagues in particular. I think, Emma, you mentioned the importance of scientific evidence and of clinical validation. And I think that’s key particularly within the digital health space. So different from commercial digital approaches where we’re trying to get closer to physicians and patients in the geographies that allow us to do that.
The push within digital health solutions, I think, this year has been phenomenal. I think the last I heard as of November, there’s been $50 billion invested in digital health, which is, I think, a $30-million increase over last year. Just enormous amount of spend. The digital therapeutics landscape has really increased both in the number of players, the size of the players, the valuations of those players, but also in the regulatory and reimbursement advances globally.
As many of you know, I’m based in Barcelona, and closely tracking the European landscape. Germany has DiGA, which is a Digital Health Act that allows for both the regulatory path as well as a reimbursement one for digital therapeutics and digital health solutions.
France has just essentially cut and pasted the same approach. The hope is that there’ll be a, I’ve heard it referred to, as both a both a pan-DiGA or a super DiGA across Europe that will allow for some harmonization and scale of these digital health solutions, which is I think very great news for patients because it allows them greater autonomy to better manage their own conditions and to manage the various comorbidities that come with chronic disease.
So I think all of that is really great and hopeful news. From a pharma perspective, I think we’ve increasingly seen patients as people, as consumers and have looked to creating solutions that are focused on people rather than on patients. So there’s been a talk for years and years and years and probably for the past decade about patient engagement. But I think this year, and as a result of the pandemic, I feel like that is really becoming something that’s quite ingrained in terms of how we build solutions, making sure we get patient advocates to talk to us about whether these solutions are meeting their needs, have them co-develop them to the extent that that’s possible, Craig, in terms of the decentralized trials.
I’m not convinced yet that a 100% of our trials will be decentralized. But what I am seeing increasingly is a growing hybrid model. And pharma’s quite a risk-averse industry, particularly in the clinical trials space. But if we start seeing a big shift, which we already are, to hybrid studies where there’s a component that’s decentralized, eventually, hopefully, the pendulum will swing such that it’s more decentralized over time.
I think that benefits the patient. I think it benefits the science because you’re able to find the right patients wherever they are, rather than just the patients that happen to be in the offices of the KOLs that you have interactions with, which is, I think, not inclusive enough. Diversity and clinical trials should increase as a result, both diversity terms of gender, but also genetic diversity and getting people across different ethnicities to participate in studies.
And also just from on the patient side, allowing the patients to participate in clinical research as a treatment modality, regardless of where they are. So all of these things, I think, are hugely hopeful for the future. Because of the pandemic, we’ve all become a little bit more technologically savvy. And that’s certainly the tech has always been there. But the willingness to use the tech hasn’t really been as big of a benefit as we’ve all seen it over the past few years.
So I think that perhaps might be the biggest positive outcome of the pandemic, is just a familiarity and a lack of skepticism around using various forms of technologies to better your health, to better your life, to make things easier. And that efficiency that these technologies, which existed well before the pandemic will certainly change the way we not only treat patients, but I think medicine in general.
Thank you, Francesca. Next topic, customer experience personalization. We speak about that already, maybe 20 years, right? However, during the pandemic, I think that this is for sure one of the newest frontiers for pharma tries to find the holy grail of interaction, engagement and so on. And in terms of this, how, Florent, do you see the aspect of personalizing content and outreach towards all stakeholders? Is that really the new frontier in pharma and beyond that?
Well, so I think next year or this year, the first Gen Z HCP are going to hit the market. Those people in that generation are naturally born using applications that most of the people in pharma have never heard of. They are learning through communities that we don’t animate. They are watching video that we don’t produce.
So, of course, we need to get a grip on that. We need to start the discussion with them, understand how they want to control the content, what format should that content be? And we need to adjust our regulatory framework to be able to give them the information that they need when they need it, how they want it.
So I really think we are on the edge of a complete change going from a complete push marketing from the last years to a pull marketing, because we will deposit content where they want to consume it rather than us sending it in their mailbox. So it’s going to be a completely new era two years from now.
Well, Derek, how do we see that especially, I think, because you are doing customer experience on a daily basis, even minute basis, right?
Yeah. No. Florent, you’re exactly right. Actually, we’ve seen in this year, there has been this focus on how do you innovate to personalized content, but again, at scale, because it’s actually really hard. One of the hard things about it is you have to figure out how to tag consistently from a technology perspective, tag and understand what each piece of content really means at scale across all of the types of content that you have, regardless of the type, the source, whether you produce it yourself or it’s coming from elsewhere and what the intended channel is.
And that’s really hard to do, because it often involves quite a lot of manual steps, and we found it can be a barrier to people getting started to really try to understand the content and, as a result, personalize for physicians and patients. And so we’ve had some success using a couple of techniques. I mean kind of when we think about the content, we think about how do you pre-process as much raw content as you can, regardless of the type, source, or channel, and you normalize it so then, you can analyze it across all.
We also look at is there ways to use like do tagging in more algorithmic or AI-assisted ways so that you don’t have to have that same manual work that you otherwise would have to. And there’s some really interesting things happening here where you can do things like some of you may have heard of like GPT-3. It’s like a pre-trained model on the Wikipedia or the internet. And you can use those sorts of things inside to pre-train like pharma models to be able to understand content and what it really means. There’s things like that.
And of course, natural language processing, which people have heard about and how you do that. And I think when you do it the right way, what we’re trying to see is like people can… You can look at the of content and then you can enrich and tag it so you understand it. And then, you can start using machine learning to predict things like what are physicians interested in? What topics would likely, if you used them in the past have changed outcomes or changed their opinions and then use that to kind of help predict what topics would engage them so that it can be personalized for them, so it reflects their interests.
And one of the exciting things we see in 2022 is, I mean, we see this getting to scale. It is a frontier because no one’s really figured it out how to do it at scale yet. And I think we are trying to work with our customers. We haven’t fully figured out either, but we are working with our customers on it. And I think what’s really exciting is you can use that for many different things. You can start thinking about this for recommending personalization, like I said, but there’s many other parts of the process for patients, for content creation, for content updates, for identifying new content that’s needed. There’s a lot of different things that can be informed by AI as we start looking at personalizing content for people / stakeholders.
Thank you, Derek. Francesca.
Yeah. No. I fully agree with Florent’s statement about the millennials and the younger generation of doctors really changing the landscape quite significantly. Actually tomorrow, I’m going to speak at a medical school here in Barcelona to talk about digital therapeutics and to share a little bit of information there. And we were specifically asked to do that by the professors within that university.
So I think part of the problem with the implementation of digital health solutions and patient-facing solutions in particular is having the physician recommend them or, in the case of a digital therapeutic, having them prescribe them. So if you have a more traditional, say, physician who needs a little bit more training up on what these solutions could be, that certainly makes the job of either the entrepreneurs who have a startup around this or the pharma companies that are trying to implement these solutions a bit harder.
So having the younger generation, that’s again already much more comfortable with using technology, demonstrating the clinical efficacy behind them, so that they’re driven to treat their patients more holistically and provide better care for their patients. So I certainly think that that will make a big difference over time. And the deployment of many of these solutions will be easier. And I don’t know about others within pharma, but what we usually do when we launch a new solution is find those more digitally savvy physicians to act as champions gather the evidence, help build the scientific and the clinical story, and then use their advocacy to help kind of spread the word. So certainly, that’s a positive note for the future.
Thank you, Francesca. Let’s move to patient engagement because, of course, I would say that’s our purpose of the industry at the end of the day, patient-centricity and engagement. And Teresa, how do see this personalization? I mean, how can pharma deliver this personalized patient experience, patient journey and the other buzzwords, which we use on a daily basis. So what advice would you give to them?
Yeah. I’m hearing many things, great ideas. And I agree with what you’re saying in terms of, yeah, using the millennials, the physicians for more digital savvy, to maybe bring digital health and include it among the patients. What I see maybe as a problem is that perhaps the patients are not yet ready for that.
And what I mean is that we’re looking for digital savvy physician, but what about the digital savvy patients or not digital savvy patients? And how do we train them, or how do we get to where they are? How do we personalize the content to give them what they need, not what we think they need, we as an industry.
And I’m saying this because, sometimes, the language that the industry speaks is so different from the language that the patient speak. And the patient makes the effort to follow the content because that’s the content that is out there. And I can talk about breast cancer and what I see in Instagram. It’s all the time the same thing. What you should eat, exercise, blah, blah, blah.
And it’s even boring. I mean, it doesn’t really matter how I get to that information or who is telling me, or in which way it’s the same all the time. So let’s go one step before. And when we go to where the patient is, and here is where I come with empowerment, let’s go to see what do they really need. And how can they actually ask for it instead of just drinking when it comes, what you guys are producing. How can they stand up and say, “You know what? I really want my content personalized, and I want it to be this way.”
”And I’m strong enough to say it. And I’m strong enough to tell my physician, I’m not interested in this app, even if it’s great, because it’s working for me.” So I’m really playing the patient advocate here, because, also, I’m a coach I’m a certified coach. And part of the work that I’m doing is to empower people, to connect with who they are. So they can really decide on how they want to live their disease, to experience their realness, their chronical illness and express it. And how can they actually really fulfill their needs
And, sometimes, there is this fuss about the digital, about what we want. And we forget the basics. And the basics, maybe it’s not so many tools. It’s not so much content. And it’s more about what do we need as persons? Francesca, you put it so beautifully. Patients are persons. So what do they need? What do we all need as persons? And how we get there? And from there, we keep working.
Thank you, Teresa. So long story short, ask patients, right? So simple it is. Okay. Craig, let’s move forward to you.
As I think about personalization and this clinical research topic, there’s so many great opportunities, some of which we’ve been queuing up here. When we think about the research participant journey and our ability to continue to better personalize during recruitment, helping to find the right people and get them to messages that really matter to them, we certainly see opportunities to use metadata around a patient who is in a trial to help personalize around their needs.
So for example, if we’re sending reminders to a participant to complete a diary and our metadata is showing us that there’s an increasingly long lag time between when they get the reminder and when they’re responding, is this a signal to us that there’s other types of interventions or nudges or support that that individual may need even just from a retention standpoint. But I think some of the really exciting parts around personalization and research right now, pick up again on that theme of decentralization.
As Francesca mentioned earlier, decentralized trials does not mean the entire trials in your house. Decentralized trials have a whole list of different archetypes beneath that heading. And most of it is hybrid, but the real aspiration for many is how do we give participants in our studies more choice and flexibility in the location in which they want to participate.
For some, going into a clinical site is a fabulous high-touch experience that gives them confidence. The ratings on experience at research sites are overwhelmingly positive from a range of different sources. The challenge for people in studies isn’t that they don’t like sites. It’s that they can’t access them. And so how do we give people the same types of choice that we as consumers are enjoying today? For us to make that happen, we need to have more resilient endpoints.
We need to continue to invest in digitizing our endpoints in ways that we can capture data with confidence, regardless of where somebody is participating. I think we’ll continue to see more personalization even creep into our workforce. We’ve seen now how site staff monitors and others can also work remote and from other locations.
I think we’ll see a widening of what location is based on individual needs. We talked last year about the site versus the home and giving choice there. In 2022, we’re going to see more mobile sites, pop up sites using local community health centers, enabling research visits in your local treating physician’s office. All of this powered with things like investigators joining through video and our ability to capture data in more reliable ways, wherever a person may be.
Thank you, Craig. And Emma.
Well, I think here we it all, it’s really inspiring to be part of this. And I think when you’re talking about the experiences coming from every angle and to comment on a few points that were made that digital data capture. And for me, the critical point is also influencing that it’s valid data that we can do this. And I think it was mentioned earlier is that regulatory framework that needs to sort of change, not just from a trial perspective, but even from a content perspective, we still work with many countries where content has to be approved in final format.
So if you want to be able to meet several formats, you have to have a ridiculous kind of approval process with every piece approved as every in every format. So I think finding ways to work together as an industry to kind of get that change and to have those discussions with regulatory authorities and so on is also really critical.
But I think it’s really exciting when I hear. And I’m really inspired. Also, Derek was talking about the AI opportunity and so on, and the tagging. And companies like Amazon now with the Mechanical Turk kind of also enable this further. So people maybe are afraid, but they have resources that can help you. There are challenges with this because it’s always dependent on the person that’s actually doing the tagging.
But as an industry, we have so much opportunity to learn from other industries, that it’s, I think, really exciting because I think it can help us carefully go forwards faster to consider all of these. Yeah. And absolutely, the learning through communities and different ways.
I mean, it encourages us as leaders to bring in new talent and expose ourselves to people with all of this diverse experience and the younger generation, because I think I know some things, but I am not anywhere even near TikTok. So there are many things that we need to look at and make sure that we are relevant. And especially as we are approaching people’s time and as we are communicating more digitally, it’s time they’re giving up versus family. It’s time they’re giving up versus other things. So it needs to be providing them what they need and how they need it.
Thank you, Emma. And last question for today’s conversation, let’s speak about technology and organizational change, a very important aspect nowadays, because during the whole digital transformation, we just speak about the technology, but, of course not so many times you speak about the organizational change and how actually to deliver this overall change in this whole ecosystem of transformation. I won’t call it digital in next year. So how do you see that? Let’s start with you, Derek, since you’re coming from a technology company.
Yeah. I think we’ve talked a lot about these themes already, but it’s about getting data. It’s about getting people to work together and to be about sharing it all so then you can build upon it. And I think in some ways, you could say the situation in healthcare, especially when it comes to patient data, but really any kind of data, it’s similar to where industries were several years ago when the data existed, but the technology and the organization will power to consolidate it all in the right way was still missing.
And I think a lot of that has started to change. And when it comes to patients, we’re collecting so much data about patients now, but it’s not always interpreted and disseminated properly. So call centers may have data about the product complaints or concerns. The field medical teams may have detailed conversations about specific ATP scientific concerns. The patient support teams and social media teams may know what concerns the patient’s day-to-day or the caregivers, but how do we bring all that together?
And I think some of the things I think that we need to be doing in 2022, making sure that some of that raw unstructured data is captured, but then still trying to normalize and theme it just as we were talking about before with the content. The insights that come out of that, we have to make sure we can figure out how to make that interchangeable across all the functions from both the technology level, the systems that connect it, but also from an organizational level, so that you have different functions align, and the types of insights and data that they want, as well as what they can share.
And then, finally making it actionable, which is for example, if there’s this emerging trend that a patient is concerned about product safety, but you want to be able to respond to them dynamically where that content and that action is pushed to the websites, to the physicians to inform them via emails, to sales teams or activate with the same messages or at the same time. And I think that piece is really possible when you start looking at that holistically and try to leverage the latest techniques like AI, like different things to do it efficiently and to do it leveraging the data that we have.
Thank you, Craig.
So I think in terms of technology investment priorities, as I hinted at earlier, so much of our ability to enable more choice, flexibility and personalization and research, is going to be based on modernizing our endpoints. Digitizing and modernizing endpoints is an investment. And while many pharma companies have begun that investment with digital medicine groups that are starting that journey, that investment has not been substantial enough yet.
We also need innovative models that can help to scale those investments through collaborations. No one company benefits by owning a measurement or owning an endpoint. And so we can de-risk and we can distribute some of the costs that’s required through some better and smarter collaborations. We’ve had collaborations in that area today. They’ve been awkward and very expensive. I think we’ll start to see technology investments to help support our research sites that start to shift from sponsors and CROs knowing what’s best for a study and pushing it down on sites that already have technology.
And instead, starting to think more creatively around interoperability and minimum quality standards. Sites have tools like electronic informed consent already. Many sites have tools to support video-based visits. When we push things down on them for a particular study, we’re introducing chaos and unfamiliarity. And we’re increasing errors rather than thinking we’re controlling things within the four walls of our study.
And so by focusing more on interoperability, we’re going to create more opportunities for sites to use tools and investment they already have. I think organizational investments though in the coming year are perhaps most important because regulation, technology, these aren’t our upper limits for innovation right now. It’s the constraints around our culture and our environment change inside of an organization isn’t free.
And most times, it’s not cheap. Words like we’re patient-centric, or we’re going to be more patient-centric or just rhetoric without investment behind it, to help make sure that the people are supported, that there’s the right aligned incentives, the right tools. And you’re helping to bring people along that change curve.
Thank you, Craig. Francesca.
Yeah. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the interoperability piece is huge, not just in clinical development, but across the continuum of all of our lives. I think within clinical development, the use hopefully of sensors and monitors will increase the connectivity of those devices with existing solutions, the BYO, whatever your device approach, I think, is really an important one.
And you can see that even the consumer based, the Fitbits of the world and the new version of the Apple watch. I forgot what it’s called, clinical care or something are being more closely regulated. And they’re driving for the same degree of clinical evidence.
Just the other day, my mother-in-law said, “I’m going to buy your father-in-law a gift which of the various Apple versions or other competitive versions would be best” because of minor health issue to kind of monitor him. So if this is going to people in their 80s, I think the persistence and prevalence of technology is certainly being evidenced.
I think from an organizational perspective, the point that Derek made around data, is something that we’re living in our day to day. We’re really starting to bulk up our data scientists group, our advanced analytics group, to serve use cases across the organization.
We started with some what I would call digitization or process automation projects. In the early days when I joined three years ago would just to kind of show proof of function, if you will, that there can be efficiencies with regard to time and cost using advanced analytics and data analytics, but also just driving towards simplicity. Many times we’ve said, “Look, if you install this Excel macro, it’ll do the job.” Let’s not overcomplicate things because I think with this enthusiasm around tech and around data, which is fantastic, sometimes, I think we get a little bit ahead of ourselves.
I was on a call just earlier this week where the title of the call was solving for this problem via AI. And in the end, we said, “Look, this is a very simple reporting that we can do easily with power BI or with Excel, or with anything that we have. Let’s solve the complicated problems as simply as we can and leave the really, really complicated ones for the complex solutions.”
So I think the data analytics part is one that organizations are really increasing. As an industry, we’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years amassing cleaning and organizing data. And I really think now we’re are at an inflection point where we can start leveraging those data and deriving the real insights from them. The other piece that I see a lot more investment and interest in both from an organizational as well as a financial resource perspective is on the patient side.
So really getting… Teresa, you mentioned why would be give a patient a solution that they’re not going to use, or that’s not useful to them? If we co-develop it from the very beginning with the patient, it’s less likely that that that will happen when the product is all finished and tied up in a pretty bow. So that’s an area I’ve seen a lot more emphasis on where in the past, I think, that wouldn’t even come up in terms of the milestones or the list of to-dos when creating a solution. And now, it’s certainly an integral part and a part that’s done very early on and continuously throughout the evolution of the solution. So that’s quite helpful.
Thank you, Francesca. Emma.
Thank you. Yeah, I think from an organizational perspective to kind of bring that change, it’s about the small in-business opportunities where you can get those quick wins and maybe agile projects helping people to see the benefit that this embracing the technology and the opportunity can bring them.
I think like your title for today’s webinar, we can be heroes. We can be heroes, but we also have to be brave. And we also have to encourage and reward that bravery in others. And I think back to Florent’s comment earlier about people, that’s where we really need to also concentrate, is bringing that and encouraging that in others.
I think it’s been commented a few times as well about physicians are also changing the way they communicate. And it won’t always be one size fits all. And as much as we as a pharma industry or healthcare industry are trying to understand the level of digital savviness of our HCPs and others, physicians also need to do that. So we need to maybe look at how we can enable them to have a kind of CRM.
Some of them do. Some of them are already using automated emails, but they also need to understand which patients it will work for and which it won’t. And so we are also adding another dimension to them and what we are kind of helping them to provide for that patient experience. I do think as well, we are not lacking in data. So I echo the comments from Francesca, from others. We are not lacking data now. We are lacking potentially still connected data.
We’re still operating a lot in silos. We’re able to look at trends, internal, external, but we are not necessarily forming insights well from that, or consistently or systematically. And even if we are, we are not really sure what we do with it. And so, we are also not rewarding people that are doing it. And we’re not actually providing that path forward.
So then, it becomes a little obsolete, and people say, “Well, it’s a nice dashboard, but why?” So I think that’s where we need to bring more and coming back to what we discussed before with that comes that automation, with that comes the content, the modular approach, and so on. But I think it’s a great holy grail to be working towards, and, I think, one that is not too far off.
Thank you, Emma. Florent.
So we are in a slightly different position because we have spent the last 18 months connecting all our platforms and technologies to create that unique data stack for everyone. We have also changed the organization to be able to exploit that technology. So now, our focus is going to be already on the people and making sure they got all the skills to be able to listen to the customer.
One key thing that we recognize that we will be successful through great customer experiences and that in pharma, it has been a bit obscene. We were talking about HCPs. We’re talking about science and medicine and all that. No one was talking about business anymore. And we need to recognize that pharma companies are not nonprofit organizations and that we need to do the right thing, make sure the right patient get the right product to get a treatment, a positive outcome by the right physicians and that all the people who can influence the usage of our products are somewhere our customers.
And we have a duty that they have a great customer experience, so they know what they’re doing with our products. So I think that’s going to be the focus. So I promise I wouldn’t do any new technology project. Now, what I know as well is that I’m not going to be respecting that promise because our customers are where they want. And they use the technology they want. So I know we will love to connect them. And that means a new technology to embark on board and train the people, but that’s okay. As long as we go for it, with the right mindset and the right objective.
Thanks, Florent. And let’s listen to customers. Teresa, final words.
Thank you. I think from the patient perspective, what we need is to simplify the patient experience in terms of, yeah, the access to technology so that for us, it’s easy to provide data and it’s easy to access our own data. Right now, it’s like all these apps that are available. Maybe, we need to go to one place and another place and a different one. How can we make this experience as easy as just going to one app and find everything there?
For example, what would be like in terms of business of companies? What would it be like if, as a patient, I can feel that I’m the CEO in a company where my physicians are all there and I can contact each of them so that they can give me the reports, but I’m really in the center of that app? What would that be like? For us, that would be excellent. And I’m sure it’s very complicated to do, but if technology could provide with that kind of product, out life will be a lot easier.
Thank you, Teresa. And thank you all of you. It was really a great conversation today. We’ll publish that video on our official YouTube channel. I wish a festive upcoming holiday season. Take very good care. And hopefully, we will switch from virtual to live very soon. That’s my biggest wish for next year. So thank you so much for joining in. And all the best, folks.
Thanks so much.
Happy holidays, everyone.