Advances in the Life Sciences industry will continue to be stimulated by a dynamic environment, including development and implementation of technologies and policies implicating healthcare delivery and access. Several stakeholders will need to continually adapt to these changes, and new leaders will need to apply innovative methodologies to usher the path towards the future, specifically patients, practitioners, payers, policymakers, producers, programmers and preceptors.
Patients as Partners
Technology has empowered patients, allowing access into several parts of the healthcare system previously unavailable to them. To navigate an increasingly complex healthcare system on their on behalf, as well as on behalf of their children and possibly aging parents, patients are collating information from several sources – clinicians, friends, family and online – and are demanding a more collaborative relationship with their provider teams. The integration of healthcare delivery networks, requirements by regulators to position interventions which are
patient-centered and improve quality, and the unique approaches to grassroots organization by patient advocates have resulted in an increasing demand by patients to be partners in their care, not just recipients of it.
Practitioners and New Methods of Accountability
This paradigm shift in decision-making means health care practitioners are not just clinicians, they are service providers, accountable to patients, insurers, and policymakers for patient outcomes. Implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 has influenced development of a suite of measures to assess care management and increase value . Furthermore, clinically integrated networks and systems for data collection, as well as innovative approaches to improving quality care will continue to emerge in 2019, including delivering a larger percentage of care in venues such as ambulatory centers. These
new models of care and outcome assessment will also require practitioners to develop an even deeper knowledge of organizational design, and policies related to reimbursement.
Payers will continue to seek to manage risk, particularly by assuming more control over it themselves. Shifts in delivery of care will be influenced by acquisitions of medical and urgent care clinics by CVS, CONVIVA and Optum , including site of care for several procedures. New entrants to health insurance like Amazon are sure to introduce new, innovative – and disruptive – models of healthcare delivery and payment systems in an effort to increase quality and access while reducing costs. In 2019, we will continue to see commercial and government payers leverage their resources to increase efficiencies.
Policymakers and Population Health
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as other regulations stipulating access and payment for healthcare will continue to drive innovation. However, amendments to these laws and how they are interpreted will necessitate thoughtful approaches to privacy, pricing and population health management. Continued advancements in technology will require a persistent focus on regulations that ensure ethical practices which match the state of the art, particularly when investigating the benefits of a health technology prior to regulatory approval
and delivery of care. For example, in response to the opioid epidemic and the emergence of therapies which provide opioid-free alternatives for pain management, the state of Michigan passed legislation (HB-5152) in December 2018, which requires prescribers to provide a non-opioid option to patients upon request.
Producers Focused on Value
Manufacturers in the life sciences industry are balancing increased scrutiny in pricing, consumer and legislator demands, and the costs and time required to manufacture innovation . To remain competitive, producers must continue to meet the requirements of their stakeholder customers by streamlining research and development activities and moving away from traditional models of
lifecycle management of their products. Messaging on the value proposition of new
technologies will need to include the perspective of patients and incorporation of real world evidence (RWE) to deliver meaningful messages around treatment benefits. Additionally, research methodologies that allow for innovative clinical trial enrollment, deeper understanding of disease progression, and the aspects of the patient journey related to quality will provide meaningful insights into treatment benefits.
Programmers: Coding the Future of Healthcare Delivery
Coordinated healthcare focused on quality outcomes requires innovative approaches to data generation and analytics. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) continues to support opportunities for personalized medicine through wearable and implantable devices that collect and organize data; these can inform algorithms applicable to clinical trial design, subject enrollment and execution, and outcome measurement . Software-based tools can apply artificial intelligence to better help patients, practitioners, manufacturers and regulators understand how diseases and health technologies work in the body, in real time. An exponential growth in available generated data will require a continued focus on data cleaning,
advances in data mining, and security. New technology fields will continue to emerge and influence the life sciences industry.
Preceptors and the New Generation of Leadership
Consistent across all stakeholder groups in life sciences is the need for a workforce who is poised to address opportunities and challenges in the industry going forward. Institutions of higher learning, trade organizations as well as providers of executive education will need to make considerable investments to prepare leaders across the board. This new generation of leaders will be responsible for the development and delivery of care under an ever-changing paradigm.
Looking ahead, the life sciences industry will benefit from continued appreciation of and collaboration between the growing number of stakeholder groups which influence access to and delivery of quality health care. Updates to traditional models, and adaptability of new ones, will support continued achievements in this field, and the lives of patients.
“Health Policy Brief: Implementing MACRA” Health Affairs, March 27, 2017
“What To Watch In Health Care In 2018: Six Key Trends, ” Health Affairs Blog, January 29, 2018.
“Buying Binge For UnitedHealth’s Optum Is Only Just Beginning,” Forbes, April 18, 2018
5 Deloitte. (2019). 2019 Global life sciences outlook. Retrieved February 4, 2019 from Deloitte
6 Gottlieb S, et al. “FDA Proposes New Steps to Advance Clinical Testing to Deliver New Cures.”
Retrieved from Food and Drug Administration,
7 Life-Sci NYC. “Ten-point plan.” Retrieved from https://www.lifesci.nyc/ten-point-plan