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August 30, 2023

Transforming pharma: a year of top trends shaping the industry’s future

We examined a year of trend tracking to see what we could learn about where pharma is headed.
big pharma industry trends

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The twin levers of technological advancements and patient expectations are changing the pharmaceutical industry. Last year, we started tracking and sharing big pharma industry trends alongside resources for additional information about how they affect you and your day-to-day. Now, we’re looking back at 12 months of reports to see which topics have the strongest impact.

The key takeaway? These prevailing trends chart a course for a more patient-centric, equitable, and innovative industry.

Hybrid healthcare delivery: the symbiosis of virtual and in-person care

COVID-19 catalyzed the rapid adoption of telehealth and other digital health tools. Initially necessitated by social distancing measures, the benefits of virtual care quickly became apparent to patients and healthcare providers (HCPs).

This trend raises several crucial points:

Impact on equitable access

Digitally isolated communities, those with limited telehealth access, are disadvantaged. The lack of access exacerbates health disparities, and areas with limited telehealth access can experience higher rates of chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Ensuring equitable access to virtual care is imperative for addressing healthcare inequalities.

Enhanced patient engagement

The coexistence of virtual and in-person care enables a more patient-centric approach. Patients can choose the mode of care that suits them best, leading to higher engagement rates. Additionally, this hybrid model allows healthcare providers to personalize treatment plans based on individual patient needs and preferences.

Regulatory and reimbursement adaptation

As virtual care becomes a permanent fixture, regulatory frameworks and reimbursement models must evolve to accommodate the hybrid healthcare delivery model. This includes ensuring consistent quality, patient safety, and fair reimbursement for virtual care services.

Addressing social determinants of health: a patient-centric paradigm

The increasing recognition of social determinants of health (SDOH) among patients, especially younger demographics, is ushering in a patient-centric paradigm. Patients now acknowledge that access to healthy food, living conditions, and socioeconomic factors significantly affect overall well-being.

What does this trend tell us?

Patient-provider trust and collaboration

Patients expect healthcare providers to address their social needs, making it imperative to foster patient-provider trust. Open communication and understanding patients’ unique circumstances are pivotal to effective care.

Data integrity and patient-centricity

Effectively addressing SDOH requires access to accurate patient data. To uphold patient-centricity in pharma, organizations must ensure strict data integrity while handling sensitive patient information.

Holistic approach to healthcare

Integrating SDOH into healthcare requires healthcare organizations to provide solutions and resources supporting patients’ needs. Adopting a patient-centric culture and embracing a holistic approach to healthcare will be paramount.

AI’s impact on drug development and clinical decision-making

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the pharmaceutical industry, playing a pivotal role in drug development, clinical trial optimization, and patient care.

This transformative trend holds immense promise and has far-reaching implications for the industry:

Accelerating drug discovery

AI-powered algorithms expedite drug discovery by analyzing vast datasets to predict potential drug candidates. This speeds up the discovery process and reduces the time and costs associated with traditional drug development approaches. AI can also greatly reduce the time needed to analyze and report on insights collected across disparate channels like medical congresses, virtual advisory boards, and social listening.

Personalized medicine

AI enables personalized treatment approaches by analyzing individual patient data. This empowers healthcare providers to tailor treatment plans based on genetic, molecular, and clinical data, leading to more effective therapies and improved patient outcomes.

Clinical trial optimization and predictive analytics

AI optimizes clinical trial processes, from patient recruitment in clinical trials to data analysis. Machine learning algorithms predict patient responses, streamline trial operations, and improve the efficiency of clinical research. AI-powered predictive analytics enhance disease trend prediction and identify at-risk patients, enabling proactive interventions.

Pursuit of healthcare equity: battling inequality and enhancing diversity

The imperative to address healthcare inequality and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is gaining momentum. Racial bias and inequality pose significant challenges to drug development and patients.

This trend underscores several crucial aspects:

Economic costs of inequality

The economic impact of healthcare inequality is substantial, costing the US healthcare system billions annually. This underscores the urgency for life science companies to take decisive actions to address DEI across all stages of product development.

Improved clinical trial diversity

Diversity in clinical trials is essential for ensuring treatment effectiveness across different populations. Overcoming barriers to participation, building trust between patients and physicians, and leveraging technology are vital steps toward achieving this goal.

Role of technology in bridging gaps

Technology bridges healthcare gaps for underrepresented communities, including AI and digital tools. Technology creates a more inclusive healthcare ecosystem by addressing structural issues and enhancing trust.

Embracing transformation: the road ahead

The pharmaceutical industry is at a pivotal moment, poised for transformative change driven by these prevailing trends. Hybrid healthcare delivery models, recognizing SDOH, AI-powered innovations, and pursuing healthcare equity are shaping a future where patient outcomes are improved, and healthcare becomes more accessible, personalized, and inclusive. As the industry navigates these trends, collaboration between stakeholders, responsible adoption of technology, and a steadfast commitment to patient well-being will be essential in realizing this transformative vision of healthcare.

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