Posted: 10 May 2022 8 min. read

3 ways life sciences execs are capitalizing on tech trends

By Todd Konersmann, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

As the national leader for Deloitte’s Life Sciences Information Technology practice, I speak regularly with executives from life sciences companies. As the IT landscape continues to shift and expand, these leaders have many of the same questions about how they can get the most out of technology. Typical questions include:

How can we share data—within and beyond our enterprise—to drive new opportunities?

How can we enhance digital health with physical assets like wearables?

How can we leverage innovative digital technologies to leapfrog the competition? 

Many forward-thinking life sciences executives understand the technology trends that surround them and are looking for ways to harness that technology to benefit their partners, their customers, and the patients who use their products. To that end, many of them are pushing the technology envelope in three key ways:

  • Making it easier to share data
  • Introducing connected devices
  • Accelerating digital innovation

Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening on each front:

Making data easier to share

It’s exciting to watch life sciences organizations transform the nature of doing business across organizational and enterprise boundaries. Many of them are engaging differently with other teams and with players outside the four walls of their organizations. Some life sciences leaders are starting to use cloud technologies to drive R&D, commercial functions, and patient engagement. Many of them are also broadening their partnerships with hyper-scalers to adopt industry-optimized platforms and business capabilities.

I’m seeing the most traction among companies that are using an application programming interface (API)-first approach to share non-competitive, HIPAA-compliant data without privacy concerns. This strategy anticipates data-sharing by design and opens up a host of collaboration opportunities with partners, health plans, health systems, and patients.

Case in point: I know of one medtech company that is using its in-house R&D and manufacturing capabilities—and partnering with leading academic medical centers—to develop and test new digitally enabled care products that could lead to better patient experiences and outcomes.

As data sharing becomes easier, I anticipate we will see companies build enterprise data backbones that span clinical, operational, and administrative functions. With this approach, organizations could gain the ability to disrupt the industry by delivering powerful new insights and efficiencies while yielding significant cost savings.

Introducing connected devices

Many life sciences companies are trying to put patients in the driver’s seat by developing smart devices that help them to take greater control of their health. The rise of the empowered consumer is central to Deloitte’s vision for The Future of Health.

We are also seeing more virtual clinical trials, which incorporate remote monitoring tools and virtual patient check-ins to make it easier for patients to participate. Some companies have enhanced treatment regimens with medication-companion applications and digital therapeutics supplemented by wearables devices. Some have introduced tracking devices into the cell therapy process. This new level of connectivity is an opportunity to rethink operating models. It can help bring business and technology stakeholders together to make unified decisions about device cost, quality, governance, compliance, and oversight.

The commercialization and acquisition playbook that has traditionally been used by life sciences companies might no longer be enough. To ensure a competitive advantage, some companies might need to build relationships with new stakeholders or change relationships with existing ones. Business-development opportunities should surely take digital products into account.

Accelerating digital innovation

If sharing data and introducing connected devices are two legs of the tech-trends stool for life sciences organizations, accelerating digital innovation is the third. Industry visionaries are continually scanning the horizon for—and experimenting with—technologies that have the potential to give them an edge. This includes augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), digital twins, blockchain, and quantum computing.1

Turning trends into opportunities

While no one can predict the future, early movers who get a head start with these technologies, should be positioned to gain a breakaway lead. How can your organization capitalize on the promise of these tech trends? Four steps can help set the stage:

  1. Make it everyone’s job: Technology is no longer just a job for the chief information officer’s team—ideation comes through collaboration across the organization. Try to integrate changes in your operating models that merge technology and busines perspectives. Provide an ongoing forum for bringing the best ideas and opportunities to the table, no matter where in the organization they originate.
  2. Don’t go it alone: Many company leaders realize they can’t be exceptional at everything. Develop partnerships, ecosystems, and alliances to help you co-develop next-gen products and solutions that advance your business strategy.
  3. Celebrate technology advances: As technology strategy and business strategy converge, opportunities abound for truly transformational initiatives. Building a culture that values and celebrates technology advances can further break down boundaries across the organization and lead to better experiences for employees, partners, and patients.
  4. Use a new lens to look at value: Consider how the tech budget and project portfolio can be balanced to support strategic growth opportunities. This can include breaking into new markets or leveraging emerging tech to fuel new products. Try to use common language across all stakeholders to convey how technology investments drive top- and bottom-line results.

Interested in a deeper dive into Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2022—and life sciences organizations’ readiness to put them to work for the business? Be sure to read Tech Trends: A life sciences perspective.

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.

Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.


1 Despite benefits, blockchain adoption is slow in life sciences, says report, Pharmaphorum , January 17, 2020

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Todd Konersmann

Todd Konersmann

Principal | Deloitte Consulting LLP

Todd is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Life Sciences practice and is the national leader for the Life Sciences Information Technology practice. With more than 20 years of experience, he has led large global technology and business transformation programs for some of our largest and most notable clients. Todd has a passion for collaborating with clients to understand where and how to start adopting new technologies that help result in real value and improve the lives of patients worldwide.