By Anthony Lange and David P. Spencer, Virtusa
The financial meltdown of 2007 did away with the image of banks as safe havens for wealth. A joint coup between emerging technologies and FinTech innovators triggered a change in how wealth was managed. The idea that an alternative to conventional banking models could exist suddenly seemed viable.
FinTech brought a fresh approach to wealth management with digital platforms and mobile apps. These organizations put consumers in direct control of how they manage, move, and spend money.
A precedent has been set for the future of wealth management. Can other industries follow suit?
Can Life Sciences Companies March To The Fintech Tune?
Digital leaders in the finance space, such as PayPal and Venmo, have helped the sector elevate consumer trust, but that trust isn’t translating across industries. MedTech companies, despite ushering in new possibilities in personalized patient care, hospital tech, and health apps, have been slow to drive transformation at a more systemic level.
For the past few years, both medical service providers and payers have counted on technology to deliver better, more personalized health outcomes at lower costs. It’s evident that the impact has been realized to some extent. Patients today have access to high-end personal health devices, such as wearables, which provide real-time updates on critical biometric parameters and medical reference apps that serve as a go-to solution for doctor appointments, drug references, and insurance claims.
While the sector continues to build on such innovations, they are just short of realizing that exponential technology isn’t confined to smart wearables or apps. It is central to digitally empowering consumers’ expectations of how they track and manage their personal health. Simply put, the sector must follow in the footsteps of FinTech and ensure that innovation is a continuous process rather than a voluntary push.
The reason why personal finance has reached its current state of technological finesse is because consumers wanted more out of their banks. To gain a strong foothold on that front, MedTech companies need to open their doors to newer business models where wearables and apps aren’t the only pieces of the puzzle; tech innovations around critical care scenarios like surgery and prosthetics complete the picture.
Bolstering MedTech Innovation: A Strategic Approach
Companies in the MedTech industry have historically relied on strong product identity and brand equity to achieve high margins. But the changing landscape driven by accelerated consumer expectations demands a fresh go-to-market model, one that is more customer-oriented, closely integrated, and technologically sound.
Data and connectivity will have a large role to play in enabling this new future of personal health
While a simple wearable device can give consumers details about their pulse rate and daily activity, the data currently resides in silos maintained by manufacturers. Advancements in sensor technology have made it easier for companies to break down these silos. Embedding sensors in hospital beds to track patient activity is just the first step. To gain actionable insights and enable new, more effective preventive health actions, MedTech companies need to aggregate, standardize, and analyze this data.
Until now, IoT-enabled devices like wearables and digital thermometers have primarily been used to monitor and track patient activity. These devices have, however, largely remained on the periphery of conventional care channels. Integrating such critical patient information from multiple standalone devices and storing it in one consolidated, standardized repository, a la Covisint in the auto industry, can help healthcare providers take personalized healthcare services to a whole new level. By ensuring pervasive connectivity, medical records and related patient diagnostics information will grow richer with time and enable providers to not only gain a clear picture of patient’s health, but also offer advice and updates as soon as an anomaly is detected.
Technology enablement is no longer a choice but an operational imperative.
Critical issues like medical nonadherence cost the global healthcare industry billions every year and it is estimated to cause almost 125,000 deaths and more than 10 percent of all hospitalizations annually. Technology enablement can help life sciences companies create a significant difference.
Imagine a healthcare provider being able to identify potential issues in a prosthetic knee joint using peripheral IoT sensors that can capture bilateral force distribution and pressure patterns across the lower body? Using APIs, medical device manufacturers can allow users to access this data through a smartphone app. Such preventive healthcare models can create unprecedented value for both consumers and providers, enabling both to play more proactive, immersive roles. Interestingly, this technology also provides an opportunity for payers to improve underwriting with data-driven, analytics-led actuarial risk assessment models and deliver highly personalized microinsurance products.
Patients no longer want to be just care receivers but embrace their role as product consumers.
In a recent study by the University of Phoenix, 59 percent of the surveyed population said that they preferred turning to an online health information resource like WebMD over talking to their physician. Consumers like to control and access important information when and where they want it. As a result, all value chain players in life sciences, from manufacturers to caregivers, must adapt to this new breed of informed consumers and focus more on collecting patient feedback, considering their satisfaction as the most important success metric.
Companies that choose to tread this path are likely to face unique challenges, but they must follow the money.
The future of MedTech looks healthy. A recent Deloitte study indicates that corporate and venture capital investors are enthusiastic about prospects in this sector. However, healthcare reforms, complex regulatory mandates, and stringent insurance obligations continue to hinder progress. To ensure funds keep flowing to fuel R&D, both legacy life science players and MedTech entrepreneurs must think of leveraging alternative funding sources, such as accelerator and state programs, or even collaborate with other technology vendors.
The companies that will thrive in this new consumer-oriented market paradigm will be those that realize that managing personal health should be as easy as personal wealth.
About The Authors
Anthony Lange is Sr. Vice President & Global Head, Life Sciences at Virtusa. Mr. Lange is a team-oriented business leader as demonstrated by over 17 years of progressive experience developing and managing client-centric, technology-driven business solutions. He provides leadership and strategic direction to clients by blending experience, knowledge of industry drivers, discovery of business objectives, and exposure to technology with the skills required to navigate organizations and influence stakeholder action. As Senior VP & Global Head of Virtusa's Life Sciences business, Anthony is responsible for leading all aspects of financial, domain solution and organizational growth while serving as the senior executive sponsor across its global Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals, Distribution and CRO clients.
David P. Spencer is Regional Vice President & Client Partner, Life Sciences at Virtusa. As a veteran in the Business and IT Consulting industry, Mr. Spencer has served in Sr. Executive roles for leading industry organizations as business growth leader, executive coach and client partner to global Fortune 1000 CXOs. His international responsibilities have spanned all functional areas including Sales & Marketing, Operations, Finance, IT and HR organizations. As Regional VP & Client Partner, anchoring the Midwest region for Virtusa's Life Science business, David is responsible for ensuring its clients’ needs are met while proactively providing technology-enabled solutions that positively impact their organization's growth trajectory.