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June 16, 2015

Bringing Together Care, Cure and Cover

Posted by Manish Tandon (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:48 AM

Some industries thrive on the benefits of consumerization. Retail is one of them. Designers might show off their creations in glitzy fashion shows, but fashion is also a by-product of what the consumers want to wear. Retailers excel in tapping into the consumer zeitgeist.

Then there are the life sciences industries, which encompass healthcare, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and even insurance. For decades, for centuries even, many companies in these industries did not act on the demands of the consumer. Instead, they dictated what drugs to take, what operations to undergo, and what insurance policies were best for them. But the tide has turned, now that we live in the digital age. It has become increasingly important for these industries to focus across the value chain and tap into market synergies. New synergies via information technology and digital devices are forcing the healthcare, pharma, and insurance industries to converge. When your job is to scrutinize and study the evolution of life sciences, it's exciting to see how this is taking shape.

In America, the healthcare industry is undergoing a profound transformation. Healthcare reforms have made the industry more complex than ever. Cost pressures persist. The consumer is now empowered to ask more questions and they expect a level of care that they did not have even a generation ago. Insurance companies are analyzing customer history vis-à-vis healthcare transactions to gain insights into the health of policy holders. Healthcare organizations are also accessing patient information from different providers to get a comprehensive view into the history of their patients in order to improve preventive and curative care. Meanwhile, life sciences organizations are using new tools and technologies to improve new drug discoveries at a faster pace. This means shorter research and development cycles in pharmaceutical companies. It also means that drugs that were once too expensive to make (they weren't cost effective to the company that held the patent) can now be made to order, pill by pill, as efficiently as a person ordering a sandwich from a fast food chain. It's made to the patient's specifications while she waits. No expensive inventory sits on shelves, passes the expiration date, and thrown away at a loss to the company.

Big Data is only a small part of what is bringing these industries together. What's really happening is that the consumerization of technology, omnichannel formats, access to the web and mobile devices are changing the consumer landscape. Organizations in these industries have not been willing to evolve like the aforementioned retail. But they can't afford to ignore the demands of today's consumers, who are empowered with information and want multichannel engagement. Life sciences organizations need IT specialists that can play the crucial role of enabling enterprises to meet the consumer demands. To this end, these organizations are increasingly looking at better utilizing technologies to bring in one vendor, across all business lines and chains.

Retailers rarely produce more shirts or trousers than they need to because they've mastered the art of consumerization. The same will soon be true of the smartest and savviest of life sciences enterprises as they converge and become more responsive to the consumer.

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