In these COVID times we thought this was an interesting read. Here’s a summary of a trend report we created for pharma and health a few years ago. Interesting to see what changes from 2020.
WHAT’S HAPPENING? The human population is increasing rapidly. We are getting richer and living longer than ever before. But with an aging population health care costs increase as diseases increase. Obesity is also increasing in the western world and life style related conditions are strongly on the rise as a global pandemic. At the same time technology is affecting our lives globally and fundamentally changing many aspects of the world we live in. This revolution brings potential as breakthroughs improve both the quality and length of human life. Many trends emerge, collide and create synergies as people, patients and doctors get connected, discover and trust new digital tools to treat the health problems of the future. In this report we highlight some of the trends emerging in the area of health and pharmaceutics.
”Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.” WHO
“The 65+ years old population is expected to grow an impressive 34% from 2012 reaching 776 million by 2020.” Euromonitor International
DIGITAL TREND TAGS
TREND #1 – CONSTANT DIAGNOSIS MEASURING MANKIND New digital tools and incentive systems are providing us a more proactive model of health by helping us better track and understand our behaviors and encouraging us to make healthier lifestyle choices. We are now able to check ”our diagnosis” constantly. Wearable and mobile technologies are leveraging advanced sensors and algorithms to provide deeper insights and individualized coaching to activate users around their wellness. The effect of this approach could be a healthier population that is less reliant on the resources provided by the broader healthcare system. Self-monitoring devices combine wearable sensors and self-tracking. Computer watches combined with quantified self-advancement allows us to read biometrics that we never knew existed. Tracking everything from pulse to insulin and cortisol levels, sequence DNA and there is even pills stuffed with minuscule sensors that monitor patients and send information wirelessly to medical staff.
Aside from offering quality in products, many brands also create impact to the offerings. Instead of giving the VIP treatment to supermodels & celebrities, focus are on the actual shoppers. If you treat your fans well, the rest will follow. There is a clear trend in lots of brands that are offering exclusive access and limited edition for fans only, thus making them strong ambassadors.
SELF-TRACKING Our mobile devices are constantly in our pockets. Starting with easy pedometer technology we are now using complex information about geotags, location, speed and camera technology. We are now witnessing a slight obsession about filling in additional information of what we eat, track how we sleep and rate our heartbeats. We can now create a track record over our health condition. This clearly implies an increased interest in our health as the possibilities rises of seeing the (hopefully) improving results. In 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to review a record number of mobile health apps as digital health companies respond to demand for more sophisticated mHealth products. Apps offering sophisticated clinical uses can deliver something consumers covet in healthcare – convenience.
TREND #2 – WEARABLE TECH
APPLE HEALTH Apple hopes to increase the value of the new watch by equipping it with software that can capture and track health data. Apple is promoting its new Health app which collects information from the user by asking questions (height, weight, etc.) and monitoring data (number of steps, heart rate, etc.) from other wireless medical devices. And, in addition, sensors on the Apple Watch continuously collect and supply apps with real-time data.
ATHLETIC FABRICS Athletic clothing company Athos has created a full-body workout suit that is embedded with sensors to track a variety of fitness metrics during workouts. All of the information is broadcast to a smartphone application where users can see their total muscle effort, reps, and heart rate among eight other composite metrics from their workout.
TREND #3 – ALWAYS ON PATIENT Armed with knowledge about their lifestyles and conditions, consumers are taking a more central role in determining when they interact with the healthcare system and how care is delivered. Empowered with technology and participation in social communities patients gather valuable advice or self-diagnose even before visiting a medical professional. Patients are better prepared to meet their doctors and sometimes even more educated on specific issues relevant to them. Technologies that allow people to identify their own health issues and determine what next steps to take are quickly developing. DIY technologies can offer a ‘good enough’ level of diagnosis about symptoms, helping people determine if they need to seek further medical care. Digital Platforms are providing relevant information and reminders at key points as patients interact with the healthcare system. Social Support Communities are forming around specific conditions to share advice, experiences and support, helping one another on the path to better health.
DIY DIAGNOSIS THERMOMETER SYNCS WITH LOCAL ILLNESS MAP An oral thermometer that connects to the user’s smartphone, capturing their temperature and mapping out other recorded symptoms and illnesses nearby. The app is able to compile a personal illness history as well as see the local ‘health weather’ that show user what illnesses are in the area that may be afflicting them too. When used in scale the device can give a greater level of certainty of what illness they may have, and can guide users to a doctor or self-medicate for less severe illnesses.
DIY APP Colorimetrix, a new app developed by University of Cambridge researchers, turns a smartphone into a portable medical diagnostic device. The app could make monitoring conditions such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, diabetes, kidney disease, and urinary tract infections clearer and easier for both patients and doctors. The app accurately performs colorimetric (color-based) tests for use in home, clinical, or remote settings, and enables transmission of medical data from patients directly to health professionals.
PATIENTS CONNECT TO SHARE EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS A social network to help individuals living with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the bowels, better manage their own care while sharing best practices. Anyone managing Crohn’s, colitis, or other types of inflammatory bowel conditions can join the site to track their day-to-day conditions and recount solutions that have worked for them. Users enter their medical histories on the site and track them hour by hour via text. Patient data is compiled and then visualized as a graph that can be easily understood.
SUPPORT FOR PARENTS OF ALPHABET CHILDREN For parents raising a child with ADHD, ASD, ODD, CD, Anxiety or a resembling diagnosis which is hard to cope with on your own – this is the place. The community offer support, advice, information and everything else that this vulnerable and exposed situation demands. The community is based on Facebook and exists to bring experiences and people with the same needs together.
TREND #4 – OMNI CHANNEL DOCTOR
Healthcare providers are using new technologies, social platforms and data systems to streamline the way information is disseminated and accessed to deliver a more personalized model of care. Secure networks are offering a new ‘commons’ for doctors to share research and advice around conditions that fall outside of their expertise, while analytic tools interpret patient data to further support these decisions. Similarly, digital platforms have evolved to ease the communication between doctors, patients and different medical personnel to ensure that pertinent records, treatment plans and face-to-face guidance is readily accessible, cutting down inefficiencies and mistakes. The 24/7 Doctor – In-person check-ups are being supplemented by telemedicine options that allow patients to remotely connect with healthcare providers for immediate advice and care. Cloud- Powered medical records are breaking down communications between providers, streamlining the way patient data and records are accessed and shared. Visualization and information overlay tools (such as the ipad) are being developed to assist physicians during complex procedures and supplement current education techniques.
ALWAYS AVAILABLE PHYCOLOGISTS MEET REMOTE PATIENTS TalkSession connects people online who are struggling with psychiatric issues to professionals who can help, no matter where the patient is located. Similar to a regular doctor’s office, patients fill a simple form and answer questions, and are quickly matched to treatment in their area, saving them from having to spend time searching or traveling long distances.
ONLINE DERMATOLOGIST People consult doctors on skin conditions quickly and anonymously without ever having to wait for an appointment. Users answer a series of questions and upload images of their skin problem to the website, then within 48 hours, a certified dermatologist responds with a diagnosis and advice on next steps. Armed with this information, patients can make an appointment with their dermatologist or decide to wait, if they feel reassured.
DIGITAL INSURANCE CARD US-based digital healthcare company Medlio has created a mobile app and cloud-based insurance care management system that allows patients to oversee all of their care and easily share medical records with healthcare providers. Using the application as a central source of information, patients can receive and send medical records to their chosen healthcare providers with the touch of a button.
GOOGLE HELPOUTS Google launched a new search feature and service allowing users to video call a doctor directly from search results for illnesses or symptoms. The search results prompted users to “talk with a doctor now”, and initiated a free video call similar to Google hangout but with a doctor to talk through symptoms for a remote diagnosis or advice. Google later announced that the service will shut down on April 20th 2015 facing large privacy concerns. However video conferencing is growing in acceptance and Verizon recently launched its Verizon Virtual Visits, which will let you set up a quick virtual appointment with doctors using your smartphone, computer, or tablet. Another service catching on is MD Live offering appointments anytime, anywhere.
TREND #5 – ENGAGED PHARMA As the population increases and get proportionally older, as we live longer, as developing countries keep developing, as health style concerns will grow – the need for more and growing health care will be a global concern. Pharmaceutical industries will be in the midst of this with large new potential customer bases but also new challenges. Innovation will probably have to to extend new substances and patented drugs. Governments and competitive business will also be keen to find radical solutions to new economic challenges in society. The expectations on pharma to participate and contribute actively in the solutions for this will probably be necessary if they are to reap the rewards. In a digitized world with empowered customers follows new demands, new collaborations and new kinds of transparencies. Holistic solutions will acknowledge that medical conditions can be approached in a combination of ways, where most certainly digital tools can accelerate a better outcome. Digital communication also provides ways of communicating not only with patients but with their bodies, preventing and treating, becomes a lifestyle in itself. Brands that utilize this transformation to provide better products, and better service will increase trust and respect for their brand. Defining and communicating that purpose in this brave new world, will surely be a defining factor of those that survive and prosper.
“Companies in the future are going to be paid on patient outcomes rather than on just selling drugs”. Joseph Jiminez, CEO Novartis
WHAT´S NEXT? EMPOWERED COLLABORATING PATIENTS PATIENT CENTRIC HIGH TECH DOCTORS Technology used to be visualized as a race to the moon. Now it seems to be more of a race inside our own bodies. A great and needed development in society seems to lie in the meeting of technology and biology. Digital tools also seems to bridge medicin with lifestyle as previously complex diagnoses, treatments and patient interactions becomes possible and advanced technology becomes mobile,personal and trusted.
Patients armed with knowledge and digital tools to participate in their own care will be demanding but also rewarding as patients and doctors can collaborate, communicate more efficiently. As digital natives enters the medical professions, they will demand better tools to treat their patients with then they use to play angry birds with. Patients will also realize that technology means more personalized treatment, better communication and higher quality care.
Pharmaceutical companies will understand the benefits of communicating directly and transparently with their patients – creating loyalty and shared interests. Governments and consumers will demand pharma companies to be more active on addressing the whole problems, and many companies will also see new business potential in doing so and expanding their core business of making people healthy
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