Pharma Digital Transformation Reshaping the Industry

Mobiquity Marketing
Publication Date
20 February 2023

Pharma Digital Transformation Reshaping the Industry

Mobiquity updated this article in January 2024 to include some new trends and use cases. We always want to make sure we’re providing you with the most accurate information possible.


How Digital Transformation Is Reshaping Pharma

The growing importance of digital innovation has significantly transformed how pharma operates. A global spike in traffic to health and medicine websites has only continued. Increasingly larger numbers of patients are actively seeking health and medical information digitally, first and foremost. 

Greater health knowledge access through technology has changed how patients research medications and personal health topics, how they interact with their physicians, and how they have taken personal goals into their own hands. Patients now have more access to healthcare information and pharma companies than ever before.


What is digital transformation?

Before we can talk about how digital transformation has impacted the pharmaceutical industry, it's important to quickly define digital transformation in the first place. Digital transformation is a strategic approach to leveraging technology to transform from a traditionally analog business model to a digital omnichannel model. 

Digital transformation is, in essence, the process of incorporating digital technology throughout a company or organization in an effort to better serve customers. This evolution may come in the form of updating existing processes to become quicker and more efficient when performed digitally. 

Alternatively, digital transformation can also involve creating whole new services or business processes that take advantage of the latest technology.


Trends that are contributing to digital transformation in pharma

As the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries have undergone this sort of digital transformation, the world of healthcare looks markedly different than it did even ten years ago. And we predict that shift will continue. 

Recently, the healthcare and life sciences industries have experienced several trends that have reshaped the way we think about the medical world. In general, it seems that patients are more in control of their health than ever before, and in a way, this control makes the industry less intimidating.

Patients are more engaged...

Gone are the days when patients were passive recipients of healthcare. The contemporary patient is informed, involved, and inquisitive, taking an active role in their health management. This is a significant paradigm shift from the traditional model, where healthcare decisions were largely physician-driven. 

Since there is so much more information readily available about various conditions and treatment options, patients are more able to learn about their symptoms, determine what may be wrong, and become actively engaged in discussions around treatments and medications. 

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…And they have more information about product performance and side effects

On that same note, patients used to have to rely on their doctors to tell them about what medications to take and how that specific medication may impact them. 

The digital age has unlocked access to a wealth of information about medical conditions, treatment efficacy, and medication side effects. With a simple internet search, patients can gain insight into the experiences of others, scrutinize clinical studies, and weigh the pros and cons of various pharmaceutical products. This level of transparency has not only demystified the once-opaque world of medication but also allowed patients to approach their treatment with confidence and knowledge.

In this way, patients can feel better equipped to discuss treatment options with their doctor and will often have a better grasp of what to expect when starting a certain medication. But at the same time, healthcare professionals need to take care that their patients are not misinformed.

Greater transparency and accessibility means more competition

Sometimes, a patient may feel that they need to get a second opinion about their diagnosis or their symptoms. With telemedicine providing fast and easily accessible virtual consultations, primary healthcare is opening up to more competition for some specialties, and patients have more options than ever before. 

Additionally, it's easy to research doctors in the area to try to find a good fit. This development also serves to encourage innovation and contain costs in the healthcare industry in general. 

All of these benefits can also be translated to the pharma industry; patients have more choices of which medication to turn to, and there is more cause for innovation to set companies apart from one another.

Patients want answers right away, and it is easy with today’s technology

In our fast-paced world, waiting for healthcare solutions is increasingly unacceptable. Digital advancements have significantly streamlined the patient journey, from initial consultation to receiving test results. 

Telemedicine, wearable tech, and electronic health records have coalesced to create a seamless, efficient healthcare experience, drastically reducing the time it takes for patients to receive care and make informed decisions about their treatment.


Trends and opportunities for pharma becoming digital

So far, we've talked mostly about the healthcare industry in general and how it has been impacted by the growing digital world. But what about the pharmaceutical industry specifically? 

While some members of the industry may be hesitant to adopt the digital changes that have emerged over the last decade or so, trends in digital health solutions make it more possible for pharmaceutical companies to positively impact patient well-being and drive brand awareness than ever before.

Expanding the role of AI in healthcare

AI (artificial intelligence) can have some truly impressive uses in the pharmaceutical industry. Firstly, it can be a great way to handle any complaints or basic questions about a certain drug, all while helping the patient to feel at ease. 

Conversational AI could also market new equipment or medications, offer more accurate medical advice than what may be found elsewhere on the internet, and even alert users to symptoms that warrant immediate medical attention. In addition, AI-driven chatbots and virtual health assistants can provide 24/7 support, answering patient queries and offering guidance.

Beyond conversational AI, the application of artificial intelligence in healthcare is multi-faceted, offering not just improved customer service but also groundbreaking advancements in drug discovery and disease diagnosis. 

AI algorithms can analyze complex biomedical information far quicker than human capacity, identifying potential drug candidates within large datasets that might otherwise go unnoticed. AI can be instrumental in improving diagnostic accuracy.

Algorithms trained on vast datasets can detect nuances in imaging scans that might elude even the most experienced radiologists. This technology is proving invaluable in the early detection of conditions such as cancer, where every moment counts.

Revolutionizing clinical trials with e-clinical platforms

Clinical trials are the cornerstone of medical advancement, but inefficiencies and a lack of patient-centric approaches often bog them down. E-clinical platforms are a digital solution transforming the landscape of clinical research. These platforms streamline trial management, making the process more efficient and patient-friendly.

E-clinical platforms offer an array of tools that handle various aspects of clinical trials, from electronic data capture (EDC) to patient recruitment and retention strategies. Clinical trial data that once took weeks to collect and process can now be gathered in real-time, enhancing the accuracy and reliability of trial results. 

Another critical advantage of e-clinical platforms is their role in data standardization. With consistent data formats, comparing results across different trials becomes easier, which is essential for regulatory submissions and advancing scientific understanding. 

Furthermore, these platforms facilitate remote monitoring, which has become particularly crucial. Patients can participate in trials from the comfort of their homes, improving their experience and reducing drop-out rates.

Keeping a pulse on patient health with wearable tech

The advent of wearable technology like the Apple Watch marks a significant stride in the digital transformation journey of the pharmaceutical industry. These devices are becoming an integral part of healthcare by providing continuous health monitoring and generating vast amounts of health data. 

By capturing biometric data around the clock, wearables enable a dynamic understanding of patient health outside clinical settings. This constant stream of information empowers pharmaceutical companies to observe drug efficacy and patient adherence in real-time, informing safer and more effective care. Plus, the data from wearables can reduce the reliance on self-reported patient outcomes, enhancing the accuracy of clinical trials and speeding up the time to market for new drugs.

For pharma companies, wearables offer a new dimension of real-world data that can be leveraged for clinical studies, drug development, and personalized medicine approaches. But for patients, they offer a huge leap in convenience by passively collecting health data and reducing the need for manual tracking and frequent hospital visits. 

Ability to put a face with a name

These days, gaining awareness of a product or service is more complex than ever. Consumers are bombarded with messaging, advertising, and content, making it hard to stand out and get their attention.

It's becoming increasingly important to show that there are real people and real values behind a company name—that life sciences companies care about improving the lives of the patients they serve. Demonstrating this can include patient case studies, video testimonials, doctor interviews, scientist highlights or interviews, and more.

Ability to not seem so big business

Pharmaceutical companies can leverage highly targeted and personalized digital advertising in order to not seem like just a big business. Marketing collateral that identifies specific patient problems, including video advertisements, case studies, personalized retargeting ads, and other content, can increase engagement. 

Personalized content helps large pharma brands develop a positive reputation by connecting one-on-one with their audience. Digital tools such as AI and machine learning have opened the door to more conversations and increased audience engagement, allowing pharmaceutical companies to seem more human. Securing a brand voice that is more relatable and caring could be a huge step in the right direction to attracting more patients.


The pharma industry is on the verge of a digital renaissance

The boundaries between the physical and virtual world are more blurred than ever before, and the future of the internet and technology makes it likely that these lines will continue to blur. Turning to digital processes can have a wide range of benefits, including quicker and more simplified processes, easier communication with clients, and more unified projects between various employees. 

Digital transformation isn’t a “one-and-done” shift; it is a cultural change that requires organizations to embrace continuous trial and error as well as adaptation to the changing landscape. As the movement of experiences from physical place to digital space accelerates, many pharmaceutical companies have already taken steps toward digital transformation. 

Traffic to pharmaceutical websites is increasing in record numbers, and patients are demanding more from these companies each and every day. Using digital transformation to your advantage allows your company to offer easily accessible information, provide more personalized services, and demonstrate your unique value compared to your competitors. 

The future is increasingly digital. The leading brands of the pharmaceutical industry will be the ones that transform accordingly.

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