Thriving in uncertain times: 8 things we know for sure in life sciences & healthcare
We are living in uncertain times. Entire industries can be disrupted and re-created by just two people inventing an app in their garage. Genomics, wearable technology, 3D printing, the IoT, big data analytics and many more trends and technologies are impacting the life sciences and healthcare industry today.
To not merely survive but to actually thrive through profound global change, pharmaceutical companies need to formulate new strategies, adjust decision-making processes, and increase collaboration. Faced with so much uncertainty, a good place to start is by considering the certainties. Here is our list of things we know for sure in the life sciences and healthcare industry:
1. Patients of the future will live in large population centers. Before the industrial revolution, economic prosperity and populations were broadly aligned: larger populations produced more, had bigger armies, and enjoyed larger economies than smaller ones. With the industrial revolution, balance shifted to the West yet now we are seeing a move back towards prosperity/population alignment. We can plan with some certainty that most patients of the future will be located in the world’s largest population centers.
2. Companies will care more about individual needs. Each patient will have different and specific needs. He or she might be old, frail and housebound – in Japan, two out of three people will be 65-years old or more by 2035; in China, this will be one in three. They may be obese or chronically ill; they may suffer for example from diabetes. This will impact product portfolios and levels of home delivery, and companies must find ways to bring healthcare services closer to each patient.
3. Medication will become more affordable. The ability to afford pharmaceuticals will change dramatically over time, as wealth and healthcare spending are driven by GDP. The most dramatic GDP increases by 2030 – and therefore the greatest increase in overall affordability of medication – will occur in the largest population centers such as China and India.
4. The cost of providing medicine will decline. Currently, mature markets have higher supply chain efficiency – for example, the cost of distribution in the Netherlands is just 2% of total costs compared with, say, Kenya at 22%. Over time, this will move towards a global norm as infrastructure improves in order to make healthcare accessible to the majority of the world’s population.
- Blood pressure sensors have been incorporated into smartphone technology
- Cigna to acquire Express Scripts in a bumper $67bn deal
- Demand for digital health services is leading to the development of new healthcare models
5. Security will become vital. Our patients of the future will want to feel safe and secure about the products and services they buy. First-movers are already making significant progress in this area – for example, an invisible printing technology allows patients to use a smartphone app or a special lens to check medication authenticity. In addition, pharma companies are seeking to advance serialisation using blockchain technology for greater visibility and security in the supply chain.
6. Demand will grow for online ordering. Patients of the future will definitely want to make use of online ordering. Already we can order inconsequential items online such as toys and shoes, but not important items that impact our health. Regulations in many countries protect an outdated model; it is clear that technology is capable of reducing cost in the dispensing process while continuing to ensure patient safety. As demand grows for the convenience and privacy of online ordering, regulatory reform will become inevitable.
7. There will be more healthcare at home. The patient of the future will want to have more healthcare services in the privacy and comfort of their own home. Indeed, they may be unable to get out due to their health conditions and disabilities, or because of their family responsibilities and work commitments.
8. Payers will push for industry optimisation. In their ongoing quest for cost efficiency, payers will push for increased optimisation in the industry, particularly through the use of technology. Pharmaceutical companies will be able to provide better patient outcomes at a lower cost by making best use of all available and new technologies.
These certainties reveal an inevitable confluence of technology and healthcare, which in turn means companies will improve diagnoses and treatments, delivering patient-centric products and services while also raising safety standards and lowering costs. But some questions still need to be answered.
Will the industry keep up with tomorrow’s patient – this requires an agile, flexible, adaptable supply chain and logistics, enabled by strong partnerships. Will there be change in the regulatory framework that currently protects the industry’s status quo? Decisions taken now are likely to determine whether each life sciences and healthcare company survives or thrives in the future.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”