Digital strategies drive a new innovation model in the pharmaceutical sector

Fabiola Trujillo
25 de July de 2022 · 6 min de lectura
  • Pharmaceutical companies are evolving their digital strategies and, with it, there is a shift in their innovation model, highly focused on the value they bring to patients and healthcare professionals. 
  • These are two of the main conclusions of the event “Innovation: a new reality in Pharma? organized by Multiplica, in collaboration with Barcelona Health Hub, in which representatives of the laboratories Ferrer, Angelini Pharma, Gebro and Merck participated.
  • According to Multiplica’s “Digital Priorities 2022” study, revenues from digital channels in the pharmaceutical sector have increased, so 53% of companies in the sector will allocate more money to innovate through their digital initiatives. 

During 2021, pharmaceutical companies have advanced their digital models and these efforts have resulted in 73% increasing their revenues through digital channels. In 2022, most laboratories will continue to drive their digitization strategies, for which they are allocating a larger budget towards advancing their digital strategies. Accordingly, 53% of those who participated in Multiplica’s “Digital Priorities 2022” study have increased their budget allocations to develop their digital strategy, 26% say they are maintaining the same, and only 21% recognize that they will allocate less money for this purpose.

In terms of their digital investment priorities for the year, highlighted are the development of digital strategies focused on patients and healthcare professionals, for which it is necessary to obtain a deeper vision of the client by integrating data to generate decision-making models based on them and obtain predictive models. All this with the aim of offering more personalized experiences.

Experts in the digital field from Gebro, Ferrer, Angelini Pharma and Merck laboratories participated in the event “Innovation: a new reality in Pharma?”, organized in collaboration with Barcelona Health Hub, where they offered their views on how the pharmaceutical industry is innovating to create competitive advantages for its ecosystems through technology.

All participants agreed that the Covid-19 pandemic has served to promote a new model of innovation, which is based on digital strategies to provide value to healthcare professionals and patients, and generate a positive impact on people’s lives. In this regard, Sergio Cortés, director of the Business Unit at Ferrer, stressed that “we are adding to the traditional innovation of this industry, a new model of innovation that is more collaborative, more inclusive and more focused on the patient and the professional. And here lies the importance of digital because, when we place this type of innovation at the center, digital solutions are key”.

The last two years have been decisive in accelerating its digital transformation and “it is important that we get it right because we help people to live longer and better lives,” as Ricard Castellet, Head of Digital Transformation at Gebro Pharma, explained. In his view, it is a paradigm shift for the entire industry. “This has been a sector very focused on B2B and, now to exponential technologies, they allow us to break this dynamic to go B2B2C or B2C. The patient was a subject that we viewed through an intermediary, which was the doctor or healthcare professional, and now technology allows us to have patient data, change the interaction and part of the business logic.” 

Improve patient experience

According to the participants, the driving force behind the transformation is not the industry itself, rather the patient, who for many years has already been digitized, and it is impossible to stop the digital transformation of a sector when the end user changes. Hence, the patient and healthcare professional experience is at the top of the list of priorities for pharmaceutical laboratories.

As for the user experience offered, “it should be personalized, asynchronous as possible, respectful of privacy, respecting the patient’s right to make decisions and bringing the treatment and the healthcare professional closer to the patient,” pointed out Sergio Cortés.

In order to get there, pharmaceutical companies are devoting efforts towards gaining a deeper understanding of their customers, through data. “First you have to listen to them, companies that don’t take this into account are not going to succeed,” stated Bárbara de Benito, Innovation specialist at Merck Spain.

Privacy concerns may be an obstacle to personalization in this area. Although users may now be reluctant to provide their data due to experiences they have had in other sectors, “the moment the industry demonstrates that, through new technologies, new applications and new digital services, we improve their user experience, the privacy barrier is clearly going to disappear,” said Castellet.

Throughout 2022, the pharmaceutical sector will continue to leverage its digital initiatives by integrating data to generate data-driven decision-making models and optimize the delivery of relevant and personalized digital experiences. 

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