By Georgia Mitsi, PhD, MBA, senior director and head of digital healthcare initiatives, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Innovation is not a choice but rather a growth mindset, which creates an environment for building a sustainable business. This mindset allows for objectivity and contributions towards a bigger shared purpose. Innovation is about challenging the status quo with processes that do not work and trying new ways. Innovation is driven by positivity and optimism. Innovation offers options and it should be pursued relentlessly because it provides new opportunities for employees to grow and become even more engaged and productive.
Ultimately, innovation can help to ensure a company’s future. But, harnessing innovation does not need to be daunting, and can be done in small steps.
Many types of companies within the healthcare ecosystem have been leveraging technology to harness innovation, and the pharmaceutical industry in particular is exploring new ways to do so, which is changing the established business model. Technology offers opportunities to redefine the future of the pharmaceutical industry and to contribute towards innovation. Technology though is not a panacea and while it is still rapidly evolving, the focus should be on the “how” and not necessarily the “what” of technology. With regard to digital health care, there are three “hows” that should be considered:
- Prevention: How can we protect people from getting sick?
- Diagnosis: How can we improve people’s healthcare experience?
- Monitoring: How can we better support people and their families during the most challenging periods of their lives?
The new category of digital therapeutics has the potential for creating easy-to-use solutions for all three areas—prevention, diagnosis and monitoring.
Finding Sweet Spots, Enabling Cross-sector Partnerships
It is important to think for a moment how life has changed to understand how the pharmaceutical business can take advantage of the changing dynamics.
Let’s imagine Jenny. Jenny has a place that she calls home; a place that feels secure, relaxed and happy. She has a family, pets and friends. She shops to cover her basic needs and creates opportunities for entertainment. When she gets sick, she goes to the doctor, to the pharmacy and from time to time she may end up at a hospital for additional tests. But Jenny has also a demanding job and a long commute. Her life is busy and time is the most precious commodity. Technology has provided Jenny with the opportunity to make her life more convenient because a lot of her basic needs can be met online. She can easily order groceries, buy clothes, connect with her family and friends, make restaurant reservations, plan her next vacation, work online, read books, complete financial transactions and even receive medical services and medications. Therefore, technology contributes to Jenny’s well-being by making her life more convenient.