Tag: healthcare

How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Impacting Pharma Sales Interactions with Healthcare Providers | Blog

With the world facing an unprecedented health crisis, one group shouldering the brunt of the challenge is our healthcare workers, who are battling the threat from the front lines. Under the circumstances, their interactions with pharma sales representatives have naturally taken a back seat, with many healthcare providers closing down access. This reality is accelerating pharma firms’ shift toward a virtual sales organization, and not only for the short term.

The amount of time, access, and influence hospitals have been willing to grant pharma sales reps has been dropping for quite some time now, and face-to-face engagements have declined significantly over the years. According to a survey from DRG’s 2019 annual ePharma Physician Report, 54 percent of physician respondents said they saw pharma reps in person in 2019, down from 67 percent in 2018.

DRG ePharma Physician Report 2019 – % of physician respondents on pharma rep interactions

Source: ePharmaPhysician® US 2019

Today, given the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers, including hospitals and clinics, are increasingly refusing in-person visits from pharma sales reps, and pharma companies such as Biogen and Global Blood Therapeutics have themselves suspended face-to-face meetings. In turn, virtual interactions between reps and healthcare providers are increasing, with BMS, GSK, Pfizer, and Sanofi – to name a few – scaling up the use of remote technology to ensure continued engagement with healthcare professionals. We expect this progress to continue even after the pandemic’s threat has abated.

However, not all pharma firms are well equipped for this shift; there’s a wide degree of variance when it comes to the maturity of their virtual healthcare provider engagement capabilities. Not surprisingly, the many digital solutions that exist in the current market can help them. Several software vendors and IT services providers have developed innovative CRM solutions, such as around personalized engagement, interactive detailing, and live video through intuitive mobile apps and web portals, in order to effectively engage healthcare providers virtually.

In response to the crisis, many vendors have recently begun to enhance product functionality. For instance, Veeva recently introduced new capabilities for remote drug sampling in Veeva CRM Engage Meeting. The company also announced several alliances for digital field engagement.

Yet, going forward, getting virtual sales right could be a major deciding factor for whether or not pharma firms are able to convert extensive R&D efforts and patent wins into commercially successful therapies.

Here are our suggestions on how pharma firms can successfully pivot to a virtual sales :

  • Realign budgets Drive C-suite endorsement of initiatives whose goal is improving virtual engagement with healthcare practitioners. Money saved on aspects such as travel and organizing marketing conferences/gatherings should be diverted to investments in IT and content creation.
  • Engage technology partners to have the right solutions in place Assess the landscape of solutions from Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and IT services providers. Look for verticalized CRM solutions meant particularly for healthcare provider engagement. Prioritize quickly implementable and scalable solutions that give the assurance of little downtime and offer omni-channel (email, web, mobile, etc.) and personalized engagement.
  • Create compelling content Rethink marketing strategies. Content delivered virtually needs to be all the more engaging, detailed, and easy to consume. Such content could include live videos, webinars, intuitive brochures, and web/mobile portals. Generating personalized content can improve conversion rates. Finally, content needs to be such that healthcare providers can consume it in their own time and follow up on as needed, minimizing the need for live interactions.
  • Train representatives to effectively engage and deliver information in virtual settings Facilitate a cultural shift in sales operations from being in-person to virtual through dedicated training programs. Representatives need to utilize the time saved on travel to draft strategies for more engaging interactions. They also need to be trained on using specific technology tools for provider engagement.

While healthcare workers are bound to be overburdened and under tremendous stress in these times, this is also a tough time for pharma sales representatives. Assertive sales behavior might come across as being insensitive, but at the same time, healthcare practitioners need to be kept aware of new therapies for ailments apart from COVID-19. Shifting to a virtual model represents a huge change. Engaging with empathy and showing flexibility in working around physician schedules will be paramount in the near term, as pharma enterprises come to grips with what could potentially be a new, or next, normal.

 

Taking a Value Chain-led View to Secure Healthcare Enterprises | Blog

Between 2018 and 2019, the US healthcare industry experienced a five-fold increase in patient data breaches, with hacking accounting for more than 88 percent of them. More than half of the targeted entities were healthcare providers, primarily due to inadequate investments in cybersecurity and the negligence of unsuspecting employees.

Patient data is sacrosanct for the healthcare industry given its highly sensitive nature. In fact, patient Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are priced 10 times higher than credit card information on the dark web. Given that healthcare data is a lucrative target for cyber attackers, healthcare CXOs need a guided approach to secure their patients and enterprises against cybersecurity threats.

A value chain-led view of cybersecurity

Healthcare enterprises are becoming increasingly vulnerable to attacks as patient-centric care takes center stage and care delivery models such as mHealth and remote monitoring become commonplace. So, they must identify their crown jewels – patient data, care delivery applications, and medical devices, among others – across the value chain and allocate their cybersecurity investments accordingly. To do so, they need to contextualize threat intelligence, understand attackers’ behavior and intent, and make appropriate investments in cybersecurity to increase preparedness and reduce response time in the event of a breach.

Stress-testing the value chain-led view

To hack-proof their estates, healthcare enterprises need to adopt a value chain-led view to identify and alleviate cybersecurity concerns across four areas:

  • Patient engagement: Patient care starts as soon as a patient is made aware of a health condition. To prevent any patient data leaks, healthcare applications must be HIPAA-compliant, designed with patient privacy at the center, and have strong identity and access management controls.
  • Care/case management: The primary activities in care/case management are appointment scheduling, remote consultations, and mHealth application use, for which physicians need access to sensitive EHR data. It’s important to incorporate patient identity verification and data security layers for EHR access, as well as to build in network and endpoint security protocols to protect EHRs and devices connected to them.
  • Diagnostics, treatment, and monitoring: As medical devices increasingly connect to the provider network, malware attacks aimed at halting care operations threaten to disrupt hospital functioning. Healthcare enterprises can strengthen their endpoints by adopting malware protection, endpoint detection and response solutions, and device management software. Additionally, providers need to prevent unauthorized access to their systems.
  • Financials and network management: Providers should also invest in data and network security to make sure all patients’, payers’, and banks’ financial transactions are safe and secure.

Here’s an example of how a healthcare provider can prioritize its IT security investments in accordance with its business priorities by taking a value-chain view.

Setting the wheels in motion

Once healthcare enterprises have identified what to do to bolster security across the value chain, they need to think about how to do it. We recommend a three-phased approach:

  • Prioritize: Enterprises need to prioritize their investments and chart out a strategic and technical implementation roadmap. Having a cyber architecture in place, along with a future security plan, will aid implementation.
  • Evangelize: Once implementation begins, providers should address internal risks and change management by combining a consultative approach with a sharp focus on managed services. They should ensure that all business units across the value chain are involved for a harmonized security view.
  • Protect at scale: They should also invest in talent, short-term detection, and long-term threat investigation capabilities across the value chain, as well as solutions contextualized for threat management.

A real-life example of the value chain-led approach in action

US-based Trinity Health adopted an enterprise-wide data security strategy in the aftermath of the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017. It implemented an asset management plan to govern its connected devices and networks to improve its response to adverse events. It also instituted an event response team to isolate, contain, and deploy patches when threats were identified. Realizing that its employees could also be vulnerable targets, Trinity Health initiated exercises to help them recognize and respond to cybersecurity threats. And that’s not all; it also leveraged the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework to redesign its procurement process, technology and security assessments, and supplier evaluation responsibilities to recover in case of actual emergencies.

In an industry committed to digital transformation and increasingly embracing patient-centric care, healthcare providers must devise a well-thought-out cybersecurity strategy to protect their crown jewels across the value chain. This is the only way they’ll retain patients’ trust, drive brand value, and ensure better outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

Four Key Themes from J.P. Morgan’s 2020 Healthcare Conference | Blog

A couple of weeks ago in San Francisco, J.P. Morgan’s 38th annual Healthcare Conference brought together leading pharmaceutical, healthcare, and medical devices firms, global service providers, technology vendors, emerging start-ups, and members of the investment community. Because this conference happens so early every year, it usually sets the tone for the healthcare ecosystem each year.

Here’s our take on the top themes addressed during the 2020 conference.

Patient affordability – at front and center

Because 2020 is a US presidential election year, it’s no surprise that rising medication costs was a contentious topic of discussion at the conference, particularly as: several candidates are promising lower prescription drug costs; spending on drugs constitutes about 10 percent of the national health expenditure in the US; 25-30 percent of US patients find it difficult to afford the cost of their prescription medications; and, drug/device efficacy and health outcomes haven’t been improving in line with increasing prices. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found bipartisan support for government action to lower prescription drug costs. And the government, healthcare payers, and patient groups alike are pressuring life sciences firms to take on more financial accountability and reconsider how they price their products.

From a services delivery perspective, we believe all this turmoil is creating a perfect environment for the adoption of innovative value-based payment models in the pharma industry. To support value-based contracts and orchestrate an integrated technology ecosystem to enable collaboration and transparency among patients, life sciences firms, and healthcare payers and providers, IT service providers will have to build capabilities like solutions for risk analysis, value analysis, and reward analysis, blockchain-based smart contracts, and IoT-based patient data capture.

Consumers continue to be the biggest disrupter in healthcare

With consumerism gaining ground in healthcare, health insurance program members and patients are demanding increased engagement, control, convenience, quality, and affordability. Thus, there were multiple discussions at the conference on digital health and wellness apps that operate outside of the realm of actual care delivery but augment caregivers’ abilities. There were also numerous sessions on why challenges such as outdated reimbursement and payment models, inadequate technological infrastructures, restrictive policies, resistance to change, and a lack of financial incentives have to be solved in order for telemedicine and telehealth options to be truly viable.

Although there are many obstacles, we’ve already seen some positive results from the implementation of telemedicine/telehealth in the form of cost savings and a vision for expanded care in the long term. At the same time, we believe the ecosystem is struggling to evolve a truly sustainable business model in consumer and digital health. Examples of these struggles include players like 23andMe, which laid off 14 percent of its staff in the wake of declining DNA test sales and is tightening its focus on the direct-to-consumer business and its therapeutics arm, and Proteus Digital Health, which is winding down its $88 million deal with Otsuka Pharmaceutical as it pivots toward oncology and infectious disease treatment adherence.

Data monetization – the new fuel for growth in healthcare?

The healthcare industry’s ever-growing repository of untapped data, from both clinical and non-clinical sources, may finally be a part of monetization use cases in the near future. Some conference participants referred to this unexploited data as “the oil of healthcare.”

The real question is if organizations will have the right resources to make data liquid, available, and accessible to the right stakeholders at the right time. In our view, the emergence of data exchange platforms (such as one announced by Amazon – AWS Data Exchange) can spur revenue generation for companies holding data assets; but that can only happen once the challenges around defining data integration, managing heterogeneous data, and extracting value from data are solved. At the same time, healthcare companies, researchers, and innovators may begin to realize improved innovation with requisite data up for purchase through data exchange platforms.

BigTechs marching into the healthcare sector

BigTechs Like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google already have a track record of disrupting major industries such as retail and telecommunications. And because patient-/member-centric solutions are in high demand among resource-strained enterprises, these technology giants are now invading the lucrative healthcare industry, and many have already made and announced significant investments for transforming the industry.

At this point in time, the BigTechs aren’t competing with incumbents. Rather, their current market share lies largely outside the traditional scope of the healthcare industry (payer, provider, pharmacy benefits manager, etc.), in areas such as data and analytics, consumer devices, and transportation services. However, partnerships, like Google’s recently announced relationship with Ascension, can expand their role.

Here’s an illustration from our recent BigTechs in Healthcare: Reimagining the Ecosystem study that analyzed 11 large technology firm’s (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Lyft, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and Uber) investments in the healthcare industry The study took an objective look at the many ways BigTechs are impacting healthcare.

Please contact us at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] if you’d like to hear more about these themes from J.P. Morgan’s Healthcare Conference, or learn more about our “BigTechs in Healthcare: Reimagining the Ecosystem” study.

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