Posted by: Jack Santos
Those of you that have followed my blog entries here know that I have a fairly unusual IT background that spans different industries. The majority of my background is in financial services/health care (payer and provider/hospital). That gives me a unique outside looking in perspective on yet another big industry: Pharmaceuticals.
I recently had the chance to review some industry research on the challenges facing Pharma, and have come to the following conclusions about implications to IT:
Pharma's challenge is that R&D costs have doubled, while new drug approvals have halved (over 5 years). That can't go on. They are going to have to use IT to:
- Reduce costs
- For both back office costs through efficient HR/sales/finance apps,
- and core R&D and trial costs through better workflow/management and (longer term) virtualized trials with biosimulation and predictive analysis.This is Pharma's version of Business Intelligence on the commercial side.
- Minimizing the infrastructure costs of massive data management through use of tools like virtualization (processor and storage) and new Database options that are coming to market.
- Establishing an infrastructure that easily plugs-in /plugs-out third party R&D/Lab/Trial software tools to achieve a level of integration for researchers, and reduced costs/time for IT support.
2. Enable Better, Effective Research
- The successful companies will get very good at managing R&D with partnerships on the payer and provider side
- Better outcomes measurement, and improvements in measurable efficacy
- Increased computer/data linkages to payer/provider partners
- Increased management of payer/provider relationships (much like Customer Relationship Management software)
There will be significantly increased regulation and compliance, driving the need for template-based and workflow driven processes to ease the time and cost associated with increases.
A lot of this will depend on Pharma IT's ability to recognize new trends (like the kind our research focused on in NTS, DCS, or DMS), and plan for those changes. It also requires more of an "outward" facing IT assessment that sees the need for automated collaboration with payers/providers and the enabling technologies (cloud computing may be one) that could make that happen.
Pharma has some interesting challenges ahead, indeed, but a lot of lessons that can be learned from other industries.