I would recommend that pharma companies go beyond intelligence gathering on integrated healthcare to shaping the delivery of services in partnership with payers.
The first area of focus is the delivery of healthcare services in hospital and in primary care, where the boundaries between care in the community and the hospital are constantly changing and where the doctor is necessary but no longer sufficient to deliver cost-effective care, particularly in relation to long term conditions. The need for rapid local innovation that leads to sustained cost-effective service delivery remains a continuing challenge for payers. Pharma companies need to continue looking through the 'wrong' end of the telescope, but with the patient in sharp focus. The industry needs to take advantage of a wider view of integrated care and actively contribute to the delivery of services that address the complex needs of patients in line with the requirements of healthcare payers.
The second area of focus addresses the need to embrace the preventive element of the care pathway, where supporting patients to change their lifestyles can do as much as drugs to maintain health status and reduce complication rates, especially in relation to long term conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Going beyond the drug in the clinical care pathway, pharma companies need to seize the opportunity to develop relevant 'preventive medicine' initiatives that complement the treatment pathway.
Pharma has made great strides in looking beyond the drug to understanding the wider 'habitat' of integrated healthcare. It is now time for pharma to respond to payers' needs in the delivery of clinical and preventive services to add value to new products brought to market. There is a wealth of opportunities for the industry to move away from short term pilot projects to become viable alternative providers of targeted care, especially for long term conditions.
Dr Jeffrie R Strang MB ChB MPH (Harvard) FFPH, Associate Medical Director, Visions4health.
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