Pharmaceutical drug development, designing medical devices, and surgical procedures do not occur in a vacuum. A massive network of individuals and companies must come together in order to deliver a product or service to market. Global research and development (R&D) from private and public institutions, as well as Universities, all contribute to create an immense and continuously evolving Healthcare ecosystem.
As the future of the Healthcare industry advances, stakeholders within it will need to be connected more than ever before. Advanced digital content and the ability to collaborate on that data will be a driving factor.
“We’ll begin to see a data flow from the patient or a Healthcare professional directly through every part of the drug development and commercialization process, from regulatory and manufacturing, to commercial and payment approval packages. This information will also flow to patients, payers, and providers as industry silos break down, giving the industry faster visibility into data so that treatment decisions can be made. Data will also be entered once but used many times, cutting half of today’s redundant processes and most duplicated systems. Companies ultimately will become more efficient and agile in delivering treatments to the right patients.” - Chris Moore
The Healthcare ecosystem is generating an unfathomable amount of digital content and intellectual property (IP) as R&D increases and patient information is analyzed in greater detail. Healthcare professionals and stakeholders that support this ecosystem need the ability to access and interface with digital information in real-time. Collaboration in Healthcare needs to happen as quickly as possible since time in this industry is absolutely critical.
"If there is no proper track of where the data is being saved, the IT department may face money, security, and performance-related problems. The amount of Healthcare data increases over time, therefore the management team sometimes faces issues in handling the expense and effects of premise data storage. Maintaining an on-site server for storing data can be a difficult and costly affair. Also, this way the process of spreading the data across different departments can be messy” - Shailendra Sinhasane
Research in genomics and gathering genetic data has played an integral role in the evolution of the Healthcare ecosystem. Gaining knowledge about an individuals genetic makeup allows for Healthcare professionals to gain a better understanding of how to treat and prescribe medicines or therapies to an individual. This research and data analysis creates massive amounts of digital content, which continue to get larger as this method of testing becomes the norm.
In 1990 the Human Genome Project was created to map the entire structure of the genome and sequence it. 13 years, and $2.7 billion was spent by the United States government on this project. Since then, the amount of information gathered around genomics has exploded. Illumina is currently building a machine that will be able to read an individuals entire genome.
“Using genomic data, providers can identify patients who are at high risk of developing certain conditions and better plan for treatments. This approach could be particularly helpful in proactively treating cognitive or behavioral disorders before people show signs of disease.” - Jessica Kent
In addition to the genomics sector, pharmaceutical companies are also spending an enormous amount on R&D. Out of the top 20 largest R&D spenders, pharmaceutical companies account for almost half. Pfizer has spent about $7.5 billion on R&D alone each of the last several years.
Medical device companies within the Healthcare ecosystem also produce a significant amount of IP in their own right. Companies like Advantech are helping to produce medical computers that allow surgeons to capture 4k video during operation. This 4k video can later be played back for training purposes, or to see what method/procedure provided the best patient outcome. In this case not only do you have to generate and manage the IP to build the physical medical device, you also have digital content generated from capturing video to manage and utilize.
Particle3D is a company that has created a proprietary technology where they can 3D print bone implants custom to the patient. This customization provides a much lower risk for complications and simultaneously reduces recovery time, because the bone is custom-fit for the patient's body.
“Particle3D’s process most often starts with scans of a patient’s bones or the area where the implant will be placed. The data is fed into a computer program, which allows surgeons and staff to optimize the implant design using CAD computer models. A customized implant is then printed by Particle3D and sent to a hospital for insertion.”
Many Americans have heard of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) before and have a general understanding of how it impacts their physical or text-based digital medical records. However, as digital content like genomic data and 3d medical imaging play a larger role in Healthcare this new wave of data must adhere to industry compliance requirements as well. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) also challenges European companies or businesses that market to European countries by holding them to high data privacy standards.
"Personalized medicine, sometimes called individualized or precision medicine, is a rapidly evolving field in which physicians use diagnostic tests to determine which medical treatments will work best for each patient or use medical interventions to alter molecular mechanisms, often genetic, that cause disease or influence a patient’s response to certain treatments. By combining molecular data with an individual’s medical history, circumstances and values, Healthcare providers can develop targeted treatment and prevention plans.”
According to a Deloitte study, 46% of consumers are willing to share their medical information with their Healthcare provider. The willingness of a consumer to share medical information allows for Healthcare companies to formulate a more efficient treatment strategy for that individual, but also, and arguably more importantly, track to see what outcomes are working best throughout an entire population. With this premise in mind Healthcare companies are creating specific drug therapies and producing medical devices custom to the patient or patient group.
One out of every four drugs the FDA has approved since 2014 has been for precision medicines.
“The financial, clinical, and social imperatives for finding cures for these and other conditions have led to a surge in interest around precision medicine. With much more digital data at their disposal and the computing power to crunch the numbers, researchers are now eagerly uncovering new relationships between genes, drugs, and populations.” - Jennifer Bresnick
As technology advances and an individuals genetic makeup is better understood, the precision medicine industry will continue to grow. “The global precision medicine market was valued at US$ 61,447.3 million in 2018 and is expected to witness a robust CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast period (2019-2027).”
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