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Healthcare in the Digital Age

Healthcare is changing. By understanding the needs of the physicians, and using innovative channels to make meaningful connections, pharma can ensure it continues to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.
As increasing workloads threaten to push the health service to saturation point, pharmaceutical companies’ role in helping doctors deliver effective and affordable treatments is more critical than ever. 
Drug discovery is buoyant and innovative technology is pushing medicine forward at unprecedented speed. Exciting developments in immunotherapy and oncology, and huge strides in gene and stem-cell therapy are matched by powerhouse collaborations between academia and industry that point to a golden age for patients and physicians.Now in its tenth year, the Drug Discovery 2016 conference,being held in Liverpool, bristles with life-science promise and the genuine prospect that medicine can keep pace with the rise of chronic illness and lifestyle conditions which, coupled with the UK’s ageing population, are pushing healthcare systems to edge of sustainability.The statistics are sobering. By 2039, around 23 per cent of the UK’s population will be aged over 65 with one in twelve being over 85 years old. By 2030, the number of people in the UK aged over 80 is projected to soar from three million today to almost six million. Their treatment needs will add further strain to a creaking NHS that has been told to find £22 billion worth of savings by 2020.

The challenge for the pharmaceutical industry is now about steering new therapies through a maelstrom of financial and regulatory uncertainty into the hands of medical professionals.Navigating the shifting sands of the healthcare landscape is a prime responsibility but understanding the pressure points and competing demands in a physician’s daily life is crucial.It is also vital to be in tune with how physicians consume information. There is obviously a spectrum of technology take-up, but healthcare has been one of the most enthusiastic professions to adopt the iPhone.Exclusive research by M3 – detailed in “An inside view”on page 4 – provides a perceptive analysis of the trends of thought in a profession experiencing turbulent change.The financial squeeze felt by all healthcare systems is compounded by seemingly continual service reforms,with many doctors feeling marginalised by procedures that service policy rather than patients.A growing mountain of bureaucracy does little to shape confidence or give doctors the time for the thought and career development that have been the bedrocks of their calling.The shift in healthcare demographics is a prime cause for concern with one physician in the survey lamenting:“We are still using a 1948 model for 21st century care, with more complex clinical technology, higher public expectations, a more litigious society and an 
A familiar complaint was that “there are only so many hours in the day”.This is a disturbing view on healthcare today, but also offers vital insights for anyone wishing to engage with physicians.If the landscape has changed, so must the approach.

The need to remain relevant and particular to one doctor or group of doctors is emphasised by Dr Thomas Hein,president of the European Pharmaceutical Market Research Association (EphMRA), which is dedicated to promoting research excellence to drive healthcare business.He believes that physicians have become accustomed to using alternative services, such as networks of physicians,patient associations and the internet, to find information on drugs, both new and established.“Physicians want the information they really need at the point in time they need it,” says Dr Hein, who is also global director customer insights and strategy at medical device company Thermo Fisher Scientific.“Over the last ten years, pharmaceutical companies have become more selective, and did more and more segmentation around which GPs they can or shouldn’t visit, and which they should reach by other channels.It is simple: if they do not want to talk to a sales rep,why bother approaching them in that way?”

You can now access the full white paper 'Healthcare in the Digital Age' in full here.

3rd December 2016



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M3 (EU)

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