Life sciences execs: Next digital health platforms will be healthcare, not tech company-led

By Brian Dolan
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Accenture Digital Life SciencesThis week published the results from its annual Accenture Technology Vision 2015 survey, which includes responses from more than 1,000 executives in developed and developing markets across various industries, including more than 100 from the life sciences.

Some 70 percent of the life sciences executives surveyed said that the next generation of digital health platforms will not be led by technology companies, but by healthcare and life sciences companies. About 60 percent said they plan to form partnerships with new technology companies over the course of the next two years. In developed markets, 45 percent of the respondents said they're already using industry platforms to share data with digital business partners -- and 26 percent said they were experimenting with such initiatives currently. 

Accenture noted that ownership of wearables is expected to double next year and that 73 percent of those life sciences execs surveyed said they were using or experimenting with wearables and "smart objects" to engage customers, employees or partners. Three quarters of those surveyed said they place a personalized customer experience as among their top three priorities right now, while a quarter said it was their top priority for their business.

Some 85 percent of those surveyed said they believed that more intelligent hardware, sensors, and other connected devices would help life sciences transition from selling products to selling outcomes.

Accenture also cited a study that estimates the potential cost savings for some of these digital technologies: "For each type 2 diabetes patient, at least $697 per year could be saved by using digitally accessed intermediaries and remote monitoring for diagnosis and treatment— resulting in total annual savings of $19.2 billion," the firm wrote.

Accenture's report includes plenty of advice for life sciences executives, including these three suggestions: engage in the wellness revolution, personalize the patient journey, and establish and maintain trusted, digital havens.

"There is a huge opportunity to digitally engage in disease prevention, monitoring and treatment," Accenture writes. "Apps and wearables are being used to promote general wellness and treatment delay or prevention... The nature of access points is changing as the focus is shifting to patient journeys and creating delightful digital experiences. Channels are evolving from the internet to mobile to the internet of things, which is now getting personal, benefiting the patient... To succeed in creating highly personalized experiences life sciences companies must create a bond of trust between them and the patient, for service adoption to flourish."

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