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During the last two years, industry leaders accelerated tech adoption to keep everything from supply chains to clinical studies moving forward. As the initial phase of the health crisis subsided, organizations realized they’d gained ground in key areas: patient trust increased, decentralized clinical trials proved their legitimacy, and virtual tools revealed the benefits of global, diverse conversations throughout the product development process.
So – now what?
In general, life science organizations will dig deep to reveal efficiencies even in highly regulated activities. They’ll find these opportunities in standardizing and modernizing insight-gathering processes, leaning into new approaches for specific challenges, and applying purpose-built technology across drug and device development, from early-stage R&D through post-market monitoring.
Here are five trends we see for the year ahead.
Insights management will be a strategic pillar
Life science teams are realizing that insights management is one of the most critical processes in the company, which requires the same amount of rigor and technological support as other essential business processes. In 2023, organizations will recognize insights management as an important, if often overlooked or neglected, strategic pillar.
Organizations are recognizing that the way they handle insights doesn’t work well – the process isn’t scalable. And they’re realizing they need to look into alternatives to that. – Lance Hill, CEO, Within3
Life science teams are moving away from the slow and fragmented approaches of the past to solve the insight gap, and the right insights management platform will be as critical as the right CRM. We know this because industry leaders are already telling us how their work has changed – and they’re ready for a new approach.
Teams will cut through chaos
If insights are currency, many organizations come up short and not for a lack of information. But information, data points, and observations aren’t insights – those pivotal points that impact strategic decisions. If key insights get lost in the shuffle of documents, emails, meeting notes, and transcripts, life science teams make decisions based on incomplete or outdated information.
Take medical congresses as an example. Planning takes months of preparation, and once teams are at the event, it’s all hands on deck – and hope those hands are taking good notes. Post-congress, many insights never make it past the collection stage and thus won’t amount to anything. In 2023, more life science teams will operationalize insights by applying technology to previously chaotic processes.
The industry will find a place for AI
Artificial intelligence isn’t a matter of choosing technology over people – the truth is that AI augments what humans can do. For life science, the key to successfully using AI is ensuring the tech understands their job function. “[With AI,] your people are tech-enabled people,” says Within3 CEO Lance Hill. “The question is, what tech are they enabled with? Are they enabled with technology that understands what they’re trying to do, supports them, and reinforces best practices? That’s an insights management platform.”
So what’s the AI outlook for pharma and medical device? Acceptance of AI tools in the life science industry is growing, mainly in R&D. More pharma companies are hiring for AI roles internally, with a few global leaders considered dominant players in the space. Next year, life science teams will better understand what AI means in a life science context and how it can support – not replace – skilled people doing important work.
In-person insight-gathering will be tech-enabled
Large-scale events and business travel are back. But from an insights perspective, an old problem remains: where do the insights go? “Where and how is that information getting captured at a successful live event, and where are teams dispersing that information?” says Angela Labrozzi, Channel Partner Director at Within3. “This is a new challenge that [life science is] trying to solve.”
Organizations must consider how observations are collected and shared at live meetings and in-person conversations. How will that information make its way into the mix with data from other channels, like virtual meetings and social platforms? As organizations strike a balance between traditional and tech-enabled ways of working, technology will stay in the picture to establish processes and add consistency.
Insights management will be essential for precision medicine
Understanding the best treatment pathway for a specific patient group requires accessing and analyzing information about many different aspects of patients’ lives. While much of this information is obtained from structured data from electronic medical records, there is also valuable information in the unstructured text of physician notes, referral forms, and medical charts. Developing precision therapies also requires input from global experts who won’t necessarily turn up in the usual publishing and speaking circuits.
As the importance of precision medicine increases, it’s clear that this is an ideal use case for insights management technology. Life science-trained natural language processing can reduce the time required to analyze text-based sources manually. Network analytics and asynchronous engagement can identify key experts and bring them together in a more accessible venue. “The continued move towards precision and targeted therapies in many therapeutic areas exacerbates the insight gap issue,” says Hill. “With the disparate sources of insights and the disparate people that need to be involved, teams are beginning to understand at a high level that there’s a different way to do things.”
We know these trends will impact the life science industry because we already see them happening – in discussions with pharmaceutical and medical device leaders, at industry events, and in the news. But we also know 2023 will surprise us in ways we can’t predict, and we look forward to sharing those, too. Want to join us? Get monthly updates on industry trends, expert insights, videos, and more.