David Shaywitz writes:
As pharma companies confront the digital health wave and contemplate their digital health strategy, I see four high-level options:
1. Opportunistic adjacency: Leverage healthcare knowledge and regulatory expertise to develop technology in a related but distinct area, ultimately anticipating it evolves into a discrete business unit, analogous to animal health (e.g. Lilly’s Elanco), generics (Novartis subsidiary Sandoz), nutrition, and consumer health.
2. Follow with interest: Determine that digital health, while promising, is still in its earliest days. Just as some pharmas may be relieved they resisted investing in the first round of stem cell technologies, for instance, they might be similarly inclined to adopt a watchful waiting posture, and give the field some time to settle out. Functional areas could utilize specific digital health solutions when they evolve to the point they are available from vendors, similar to the way other solutions are utilized by the industry.
3. Elevate: Set up a dedicated “digital health” division envisioned not as a standalone business unit, but tightly integrated and explicitly intended to support the main pharma business, similar to the way many companies have dedicated “biomarker” divisions, for example. This group could be responsible for monitoring external developments and internalizing and operationalizing the most promising technologies.
4. Planned obsolescence: My personal choice, this approach would set up a dedicated “digital health” group, as in 3, but with the stated mission of catalyzing technology adoption, and with the explicit expectation that it would wind down within a set time (say five years). If successful, awareness of the relevant digital health opportunities and expertise in their appropriate utilization would by that point be located in the individual functional areas.
Via Andrew Spong