Healthcare sector often fails to implement new digital initiatives, finds report

Posted: 21 November 2019 | | No comments yet

A new report has found that even though ambitions are high in the healthcare sector to invest in digital initiatives, the rate of implementing these initiatives are low.

A recent report, named Digital Health Trend Study 2019, has found that companies in the healthcare sector have big ambitions when it comes to digitalisation, but they often fail with implementation.

The report, conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners, shows that even though digitalisation is spreading to more areas of the healthcare industry and revenue expectations are high, digital transformation is progressing slowly and firms are often unsure which direction to move in.

Fifty-nine percent of pharma, medtech and consumer healthcare companies still lack a fully defined digital strategy, the report said and there is a remarkably high number of approaches that exist for implementing company-wide digitalisation strategies. 

Most healthcare companies with dedicated digitalisation teams are satisfied with their defined strategies. However, they often fail to implement and apply them effectively due to a lack of resources and insufficient staffing capacity, said the report.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution for implementing digital strategies,” explained Jan Bordon, Senior Director and digital health expert at Simon-Kucher & Partners. “It doesn’t matter whether a digital or a commercial team is responsible. In the end, the parties involved must be clear about the commercial options that new digital solutions provide. The company must ensure it has expertise on commercial market access in the digital context and make the necessary resources available with support from every department.”

The report found that 70 percent of companies in the healthcare industry want to improve their portfolios by introducing digital add-on services. A further goal for half of those surveyed is the collection of customer data to expand their portfolios. 

Digital products and services were cited as the main focus of investment by all participants in the survey as companies in the life sciences industry expect profitable outcomes from their direct and indirect products, services and solutions. Survey participants predict that 32 percent of their revenues will be generated through digital solutions by 2030. 

However, in their efforts to implement digital strategies, most companies fail to successfully monetise their solutions with 76 percent having difficulties in defining a suitable pricing and revenue model, while over 80 percent lack resources. 

“Digital strategies only work when their offer design is customer-focused and has a clearly defined service promise supported by clinical evidence,” said Christian Schuler, Senior Partner at Simon-Kucher & Partners. “With a well-functioning internal setup and a digital strategy that is integrated into the company’s existing portfolio, the chances of a successful market entry with long-lasting impact are particularly high.”