Who is winning the innovation race: hospitals or Big Pharma?

Summary: as we all read a spectrum of news about the accelerating pace of innovation in the entire healthcare ecosystem, is it Big Pharma or Hospital systems who are leading the way? Part 1 deals with Forbes great article about hospital innovation I will add some commentary to; Part 2 will focus on Novartis’ launch, ENTRESTO and the future-forward partnerships and Big Data model it is offering.

The recent Forbes article about the future-view of 5 technologies you will see at hospitals and what they aim to accomplish. As the article suggests, this is the meeting place between physiology and technology.

The starting point of this change is the ACA and money pouring into Digital Transformation. As the article states: “Investors seem excited about the potential. Digital health startups attracted investments of $6.5 billion in 2014, a 125 percent increase from the previous year.”

Before we get into the 5 technologies, a question has to be posed which I wrestle with every day: are hospitals innovating faster than Big Pharma? Hospitals are so bureaucratic and well known for their ‘controlled chaos’ of technology, paperwork, egos and conservatism. Innovation in medicine, yes, brilliance, passion, but not necessarily innovation in enterprise-wide technology of true Patient-centricity.

Yet Big Pharma has the money and all the reasons for change: the pressure of their business model changing underneath their feet, the rise of the Formulary as King, consolidation of insurance companies and the drugstore chains dropping expensive drugs from their shelves (CVS removing Invokana this week) among a dozen distinct and fearful challenges to the industry. From clinical trials to LOE, there is change needed at every step. With all that, shouldn’t the acceleration of change would take greatest hold where the greatest need is, the manufacturer?

Is this about speed-of-transformation as an present issue or human fear and resistance to change? I think both — but the greater resistance is human and fear-based. This is scary stuff and it is all changing so quickly it can make your head spin.

But good news? Novartis is setting a new standard with their most recent launch of ENTRESTO. First, let’s list the hospital innovations. Link to article: http://goo.gl/8vVokH

The 5 innovations:

1. Connected Medical Devices: all the wearables and trackers forcing us to monitor our own health and augment the doctor.

2. Quantified Health Metrics: HealthKit, PatientsLikeMe…great examples. And for those who need to truly understand that we are all patients and most likely have one health issue; sign up as a member of PatientsLikeMe and join into the conversation. The community of compassion and data is mind-boggling. They boast of 28 million data points.

3. Shareable Health Records on-the-go: simple reason? The Cloud, which has changed everything. Between wearables, health-version of Internet of Everything, EHR’s…all within instant reach.

4. Docs on call: these 24/7 video Docs already exist and are blossoming monthly. Much like the minute-clinics, they can do everything short of diagnosis. But the availability to data and EHR’s will change that. Yes, you may never have to visit your doctor’s office again. Check out HealthTap:

5. 3-D Bioprinting: whether it is nanobots repairing your blood vessels, organs, if it is human, eventually they will “print” it. This is moving so fast, that last week it was announced they’d “printed” a pill, next week it could be an organ.

Next week, I will compare these innovations to the Big Pharma ENTRESTO; let’s see who is really owning the innovation space…or it it a race?

Author: Alfred O'Neill

Eyes on the horizon. Feet on the ground.