By Mike DeLone, US life sciences leader, Deloitte LLP
As a technologist, I have been talking about the idea of interoperable data and service-oriented architectures for years, maybe decades. Even just a couple of years ago, we were still framing interoperability as being the wave of the future. I think the future has arrived on our doorstep, and 2020 could be the year that we finally cross the threshold. I also expect life sciences firms will be focusing even more attention on the patient experience next year. More about that later.
In just the last year or two, I have noticed a mental shift among many of our clients in the life sciences sector, and I expect that shift will move faster in the year ahead. Rather than talking with clients about why they need to move toward interoperability, I anticipate we will be spending more time exploring cloud platforms and other natively interoperable and API-based architectures that are needed to attain interoperability.
The anticipated federal regulations around interoperability were recently delayed, giving stakeholders some breathing room to comply. We are encouraging our health care and life sciences clients to continue to push forward next year so that they are prepared once the final regulations are released. From my perspective, interoperability is synonymous with the future of health. I see it as the foundation of our vision. When we think about interoperability, we are talking about processes, architecture, standards, stakeholders, insight, and culture. We are talking about information across every organization’s employees and functions. This includes information generated by regulators, customers, patients, doctors, and caregivers. It also includes data produced by wearable devices, sensors…even smart pills.
Deloitte’s vision for 2020—and the years ahead—goes beyond interoperability. We are predicting radical interoperability based on the sheer volume of data that could become available and analyzed in the future. It’s not far-fetched to think that the world could contain 100 billion connected devices 10 years from now or sooner. That means trillions of connected sensors that could lead to the development of new therapies or preventive measures specifically tailored for each individual. Personalized health data combined with artificial intelligence (AI) could also lead to the development of personalized electronic health-coaching advocates and fundamentally change not just the patient experience, but the human experience, too.
Expect to see even more focus on the patient experience in 2020
While the drive toward improved interoperability and other advances in technology could drive more efficiency in the year and years ahead, we are urging life sciences leaders to consider ways to increase value and meaning across the board—for patients and consumers. Which treatment/preventive measure is working? For whom? And at what cost? By answering these questions—and by taking a holistic approach to measuring the human experience—life sciences companies can improve the value they offer for all stakeholders. Our upcoming 2020 global life sciences sector outlook takes an in-depth look into why life sciences companies should consider a holistic approach.1
Why should life sciences firms focus on a holistic patient experience? It is important that we develop a better understanding about patients who are living with a specific disease or condition. By understanding, mapping, and learning from all the touchpoints a patient might experience along their journey, an empathic solution can be built to address the patient’s needs—from health to diagnosis to research to treatment and beyond.
Here are three more trends that I expect will have an impact on life sciences companies in 2020:
We are moving closer to the promise of true precision medicine and a future of health where we learn from every radically interoperable data point in the context of every patient. When we look back 20 years from now, I expect 2020 will be seen as the year life sciences firms finally moved past their 20th-century models and stepped into a new era.
1. Measuring human relationships and experiences, Deloitte Insights, June 20, 2019
2. Why improving inclusion and diversity in clinical trials should be a research priority, UK Centre for Health Solutions, Deloitte Services LP, September 4, 2019
3. AHA: Janssen drops clinical sites for smartphones, wearables in 100 percent virtual Invokana study, FierceBiotech, November 16, 2019