The pharmaceutical industry may have pioneered some great science, but when it comes to digital health it has been behind the curve. As patients and payers open up to the idea pharma has now begun to embrace the digital revolution. This report looks at where the industry is now and where it can go.
The swift developments in digital technology in recent years have transformed so many areas of our lives, from education and personal banking, to everyday activities like booking travel. Healthcare has also seen digital incursions, yet the strides made here seem small compared with those achieved in other areas – the motor industry, for example.
Cars contain many sensors that continually monitor performance and notify the owner when something is wrong, points out Ali Parsa, CEO of digital healthcare provider Babylon. And he says the time will come when we will be able do the same in medicine. “We are approaching an area where we will be looking at our biosensors and signals in our bodies that will tell us what is happening in it. We will know the solution to your problem a millisecond after we have received the signal and that information will be freely available to everyone everywhere.”
Such is the huge promise of digital healthcare: experts say it can revolutionize medical progress, but the pharma and biotech industries cannot deliver these advances alone – they need technology expertise to help meet the growing expectations of their consumers. Industry has already begun to team up with tech firms, both niche companies and giants like Google and Apple, to help it catch up and begin to exploit more fully the field’s almost limitless potential. But at the same time, it is acutely aware of the need to negotiate regulatory and security minefields.
About the author: Lubna Ahmed joined the Scrip editorial team in 2015 as a graduate in human biology and journalism. She is particularly interested in digital medicine and technology, social media, and who is moving where within the pharma industry.