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>> FAST FORWARD How pandemics accelerate new thinking and early adoption in healthcare.

Spanish Flu killed > 2% of the world, but accelerated healthcare for all. HOW is COVID-19 accelerating healthcare again and WHY does evidence say being an innovator matters?


New ideas, behaviors, technology usually take years, if not decades to implement and reach critical mass. But during pandemics, things move faster. COVID-19 means we’re experiencing years of change, packed into a few short months. Evidence shows that early adopters are proven to perform better in the long term.

That’s why consultant group’s like Frontera have developed capabilities to help audiences to become early adopters. Here’s how.


A hundred years ago, Spanish Flu killed over 2% of the world’s population. That’s 50 million people around the world. However, it also had a significant impact on the availability of healthcare for all.

In the last year, COVID-19 pandemic has placed huge demands on our lives. But the healthcare industry’s response has demonstrated resilience and the ability to develop solutions and to innovate quickly. More so than many industries. The ability of the sector to innovate will continue to be tested, confronting the immediate challenges presented by the pandemic itself and its economic consequences. Unline many sectors, healthcare is uniquely challenged by COVID - the race to develop vaccines being one example. That’s bringing out the very best in individuals and, quite possibly, the very worst in nations.

As well as impacting how countries do (or do not) collaborate to ensure supply chains can meet demand, we’ve also seen public health turn to the power of behavioural science to combat the issues of vaccination hesitation, and the need to put the few key workers in harms way to protect the many. All in an effort to restore normality to everyday life, accelerating economic restoration. FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BRAVE

Data tells us that riding the wave of change is important for organisations. History tells us that those who innovate through crisis outperform the rest during the recovery.

The speed of necessary changes driven by the pandemic, is likely to have a long-lasting impact on healthcare ecosystem that will operate in different ways in the coming years.

For example, COVID-19 triggered a race for pharma to repurpose their commercialized drugs approved for other clinical indications to treat COVID patients. And biosimilars, have provided access to a consistent and affordable supply for patients during these times of unprecedented demand.

Such new market conditions often give rise to new organisation behaviors. Since the start of the pandemic, consultancies like ours, have seen a shift in clients’ needs - not just to help businesses  to develop an internal ability to ideate and innovate, but there’s a growing a recognition of the importance to enhance the rate of adoption. Here at Frontera Group, we’ve seen demand take different forms:


The desire to collaborate with those that you treat and the physicians that treat them has increased. From optimising care to reduce patient dependency on hospital visits, to increasing the early identification of prevalent cancers. The abilty to bring stakeholders together remotely, has reduced barriers to co-creation - increasing the opportunity to confront such challenges with the communities involved. With the support of able facilitators, it has enabled companies to explore the issues that keep patients and professionals awake at night.

The identification of new solutions to pilot, invigorates communities and creates genuine partnership, partnership that benefits all parties involved. Through the pandemic companies have shown increased compassion through a willingness to commit to deliver something of real value to communities, beyond ideas focused only on immediate prescribing impact.


Research methods now enable a forensic understanding of physician / patient behaviour. With that, comes a clear identification of who can accelerate the normal curve of new treatment adoption. The usual adoption of new ideas (diffusion curve) starts with innovators and early adopters and at the rear we find laggards. For some, confidence comes from the incentive of joining the first movers. For others, it’s the fear of feeling left behind. We have been developing quanititative techniques that can accurately identify rapid adopters & their behavioural drivers, informing activity that creates greater early momentum. This increases pressure for the usual sceptics and fence sitters to feel the need to get on board faster. The result - faster adoption.

By using behavioural analysis to inform strategies, clients can have greater confidence in their ability to influence uptake, defying the anticipated diffusion curve. This is critical in markets like the UK, where inherent conservatism has led to slow innovation adoption.


Through COVID-19 we are seeing a meaningful shift on patients. If there was saturation of talk by organisations about being patient-centric before the pandemic, many are now accelerating the build of patient services around their innovative therapies. Motives range from improving outcomes, driving differentiation and strengthening patient-professional relationships. Increasingly, companies are realising that a scalable platform solution is fundamental to ensure that patients on their treatments are fully supported. Treatments without a platform for patients will be deselected, because human behaviour is not supported, meaning outcomes will be impaired.

Potential drivers for this include:

  • Increasing pressures on national healthcare systems demand that pharma demonstrate value, beyond treatment efficacy.
  • Prevalence of biosimilarsis  increasing the need for alternate routes to differentiation.
  • Growing recognition that chronic conditions are more prevalent in lower socio-demographics where the need to improve holistic patient behaviour (eg. diet and exercise).
  • Healthcare systems increasingly recognise the need to support adherence and persistence, and so addressing patient motivation.


COVIS-19 is having a dreadful impact on communities. But it is also making us think about our purpose, the job that we do - helping those living with diseases to live better.

From our experience, the real story is about the increase in adoption of good ideas relating to this, by progressive companies. We’re seeing real change in attitudes, stuff that has been years in the making - it’s now happening every month, every week.

Change is necessary. Now, change is accelerating. Organisations are having to adapt. For those who are, history tells us that fortune favours the brave.

Craig Mills, Group Managing Director, FRONTERA GROUP

Download our article “Impact! Why active patients lead to better outcomes” and uncover the value of accelerating patient empowerment.

#wespeakpatient #COVID-19 #pandemic #pharmaceuticalindustry

18th February 2021



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>> FAST FORWARD How pandemics accelerate new thinking and early adoption in healthcare.
Spanish Flu killed > 2% of the world, but accelerated healthcare for all. HOW is COVID-19 accelerating healthcare again and WHY does evidence say being an innovator matters?