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Pharma & Healthcare Technology Trends 2019

  • 5 mins read
Jon Hume
by Jon Hume
Client Services Director

Jon is Client Services Director at Graphite Digital. An experienced digital strategist with a passion for helping big businesses leverage technology.

Published on Thursday 11th July 2019

In this post, we will be exploring some of the current digital trends within pharma and healthcare, looking particularly at some examples of how tech is being used to transform the industry for the benefit of healthcare professionals and their patients. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI presents a huge opportunity for HCPs to improve patient care. It’s already in use across many different specialities, providing support for doctors as they look to rapidly identify targeted potential treatment plans or look for genetic markers that could lead to better patient outcomes.

IBM Watson is likely the most well known example where their work in the Oncology space has been augmenting the specialist knowledge of Oncologists and providing rapid access to filtered views of massive data sets including guidelines, best practices, and medical journals and textbooks. This has been helping HCPs to ensure that their treatments are focused on the individual patient and have taken into consideration all of the available data before making an eventual treatment plan.

“1 out of 5 knowledge professionals will rely on AI to do all non-routine jobs by 2022.”

Gartner

Wearable Technology

We’ve previously posted about Wearable technology on a number of occasions and the impact that it can have in healthcare and pharma in terms of both running better clinical trials with more accurate data, and helping patients manage chronic symptoms or prevent the onset of conditions such as diabetes through healthier living. 

Diagnostic wearable technologies that work using a variety of sensors are currently being used across the healthcare space to help highlight early symptoms of chronic diseases. These technologies can also analyse metabolic changes to indicate potential cancers, measure glucose in the blood to help manage the symptoms of diabetes, and keep track of the cardiac system to aid in identifying a potential stroke before it happens.

As improvements in technology allow wearables to become smaller, lighter and have improved battery life, more opportunities become available for HCPs to monitor patients remotely, get better data about their symptoms and avoid patients having to remember a months worth of feedback between visits to a consultant or specialist. 

Many pharma companies are looking for ways to move out ‘beyond the pill’ and wearables provide a unique opportunity to extend the customer experience beyond the HCP to the end user, helping them to adhere to treatment plans, manage and report symptoms or adverse events and even collect feedback. In order to fully realise this vision, the industry will need to do some work on how both HCPs and patients view the collection of data, ensuring privacy above all else and keeping the patient at the centre of all solutions that are developed. 

Applehealthwatch
Above: Apple has now rolled out it’s ECG (electrocardiogram) functionality to Apple Watch Series 4 users, allowing them to monitor the health of their heart by checking for atrial fibrillation as well as low and high heart rates.

Apps

The rich functionality and integration with devices and services available to native smartphones apps makes them an ideal companion for users as they continue to monitor their general health, manage chronic conditions and ensure that they are accurately recording symptoms. 

Services such as Gyroscope and Exist.io have created user centric approaches to the collation, view and provision of insights around health data. Users subscribe to the services for a small fee and in return receive a real time dashboard of their own health data, capturing the outputs from other apps and sensors to give a picture of health that includes diet, exercise, heart health, stress and even caffeine consumption. 

Insurance companies are using apps to help manage the health of their customers and in turn, they hope, reduce the amount of avoidable claims that are made. In the UK, Vitality have made a splash by offering subsidised Apple Watches, Amazon Prime subscriptions and other benefits available to users who meet their exercise goals - as well as making points available for making healthy choices when shopping on partner sites such as Ocado. The data from the users Apple Watch is passed back to the Vitality app via the HealthKit API, allowing Vitality to monitor the success of their users as they seek to improve their overall health and wellbeing. 

Healthcare startups

Many healthcare start-ups are also using apps to begin to break down barriers for patients that may not be able to attend their local GP within the times they are available, or who have accessibility or mobility issues which make repeated trips to the surgery a logistical chore. UK based business Babylon Health have received a great deal of media coverage in the last few years as they seek to put the patient at the centre of the experience, offering convenient and low cost options to attend remote doctors appointments.

Babylonhealth

Well

Well Pharmacy launched a mobile app to add to their service in the summer of 2018 to allow their customers to order their repeat prescriptions online. This is a huge time saver for customers who at a click of a button can request a repeat subscription as soon as they realise they are low on their medication - which is ideal for full-time workers and helps to avoids the issue of the patient running out of their medication. 

At Graphite, we’re passionate about making a difference with the help of technology. We’ve recently been working with Pfizer to design user centred services that help their customers to their wide range of services and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working later this year.

For now though, if you’re in healthcare or pharma and want to discuss how Graphite could help you to keep the user at the centre of everything you do through running design sprints, UX research and innovative design and technology, then please get in contact with us.

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