Let’s talk about evolution – PharmaTimes Magazine March 2022

A new universe of health has grown with strategic household branding, ubiquitous metahealth and a real soul at the heart of it

Confinement. Vaccines. Quarantine. Digital therapy. Social distancing. In less than 24 months, these terms (along with many others) have gone from barely spoken vocabulary to headline-grabbing vocabulary.

The once isolated healthcare industry has arguably enjoyed more attention in the past two years than in the previous 50 years as the sector takes center stage in terms of demand and innovation. An example of this is highlighted in recent reports revealing how the use of telehealth has increased 38 times compared to pre-COVID times, while venture capital funding for the sector has tripled.

You’re probably thinking, ‘big numbers, so what?’

Well, a lot of things – virtual reality in the operating room, 3D printing drugs, patients in advisory councils, and rising health technology valuations (six times the growth in Europe, from $8 billion to $41 billion).

I applaud the great leaders and practitioners in the healthcare industry for their resilience over the past two years – addressing new perspectives, deciding what will be transitional or enduring, and the essential role of brand purpose in speeding up the often arduous decision-making process. Even now, with the accelerating progress of this traditionally measured industry, these leaders seek to stay ahead of trends, understand what they mean for the industry, anticipate the next big thing, and better prepare for it.

Drawing inspiration from Albert Einstein’s book on understanding the future by looking to the past, here’s what we can expect to see from the healthcare industry and what pandemic life meant for people. health leaders.


Brands that lead with purpose are set for the long haul. While the pandemic has highlighted renewed relevance for healthcare brands across the ecosystem, it has also exposed the issues of short-termism and its associated unsustainable business strategies. The latter, in particular, has contributed to the strain on the existing healthcare system that we have all experienced.

For some companies, however, it represented an opportunity to lead with a real purpose to drive decision-making and strategically communicate positive impact to customers. Brands like Daiichi Sankyo remained uncompromising at this time, not only establishing collaborations to develop cancer treatments, but also stepping up efforts to launch an indigenous COVID booster in Japan. Pandemic or not.

There is a path to metahealth in the metaverse. Although 5G has yet to be deployed enough for the metaverse to actually exist, the boom in digital healthcare transformation in 2020 has facilitated opportunities for increased efficiency and innovation. On that note, Saudi German Health has already introduced enterprise mobility and precision robotic surgery.

Since telemedicine is now widely activated, there is a desire to sustain this type of care for both patients and health professionals. Associations are mobilizing to meet this demand. With this approach, we may not have a complete technical overhaul of how the healthcare industry operates, but as the need grows, we can expect more personalized drug delivery and possibly a “physical presence” mimicking AI (a limitation of telehealth) with the metaverse.

Cultural change

Leading from the heart becomes the rhythm of the corporate culture. According to Boots, “what the world needs now is love, sweet love”. With many families and individuals cut off from vital human contact during the crisis, Boots’ #PrescribeKindness campaign was a much-needed motivator that underscored the critical importance of empathy and a gentler, human-centered approach.

Speaking to the hashtag, chief marketing officer Pete Markey thought “…this is exactly where we wanted to go”. Fortunately, global sentiments around kindness have remained unchanged and, in turn, expectations for health services have changed. If medical and scientific expertise is more important than ever, so is the need for compassion.

The future of individualized patient care is upon us. With increasing digital adoption, the proliferation of unique healthcare ecosystems, and changing consumer expectations, patients now receive care based on what matters to them and their individual needs.

Projects like Piedmont Healthcare’s “Medical Home” empower patients and their families to take charge of their own health care. For the association’s CMO, Douwe Bergsma, health care has become more integrated. He said, “We are expanding the communities in Georgia we serve as well as the growing technology that allows us to serve regardless of footprint.”

As more brands adapt to this changing landscape, consumers and patients can now look to a future of personalized experience points in the healthcare ecosystem.

quite now

Expect more disruptions that challenge the status quo and collaborations that evolve them. Healthcare competitive sets are growing rapidly and out-of-sector challengers are regularly introduced. Existing brands are thinking beyond immediate competitors to a future of greater volume and variety partnerships to stay ahead.

As with Pfizer’s global collaboration agreement with BioNTech to develop the first mRNA-based shingles vaccine, Deborah Scarano, Pfizer’s senior vice president of launch program, says, “We will learn from what we have done with the vaccine, so that we can do it with other vital or essential medicines. It’s not impossible to expect more of these types of collaborations across the industry in the near future. In fact, it will become the norm for staying one step ahead. Together.

Brands have become more nimble, reducing red tape, establishing collaborations, optimizing financing and offering more personalized service delivery. Advances in technology have facilitated these changes and will continue to do so in the future. And like other industries, healthcare will experience more industry disruption, including from players traditionally outside the sector.

While we can’t wait for another black swan event to pull us together, brands and governments – regardless of industry or borders – must think beyond politicization and self-interest to tackle brand challenges. of our time: maintaining momentum, meeting customer needs, integrating technology and ultimately improving humanity.


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