Trends to watch in 2019 include an increasing emphasis on highly targeted drugs; new healthcare applications for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML); eMeeting innovations; and pressure to reduce drug prices while improving patient outcomes. The following is a round-up of what we’re expecting to see this year:
Payers, healthcare professionals and patients will continue to support and demand outcome-based care and treatments. Forbes predicts that by the end of 2019, up to 15% of global healthcare spending will be on outcome-based healthcare and pharmaceutical products.
The continued push for outcome-based care will increase the demand for pay-for-performance pricing. This will increase the need for real-world data to back claims about a medicine’s superiority.
As pharma companies work on new models that better support outcome-based care, they will be building strategies for collecting and analyzing real-world data to develop the best therapies. Their strategies must also ensure compliance with relevant data privacy laws, such as the EU GDPR and California’s upcoming CCPA.
Personalization and Specialization
Continuing to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach, pharma companies will invest in more novel treatments for rare diseases and move towards personalized medicine and lucrative orphan drugs.
AI and ML
AI in healthcare will top $1.7 billion by the end of the year, gaining traction in drug discovery and risk analytics. AI and ML will further develop human and machine interaction for the benefit of patient health.
Social media will continue to help pharma companies deepen relationships with physicians and end consumers. The key challenge will be to do so in compliance with stringent regulations. Younger consumers, especially millennials, choose brands that share their values. Influencer marketing, advocacy and cause marketing will continue to make pharma brands more relevant to them.
Internet of things (IoT) software and services are expected to reach $2.5 billion by the end of 2019 in the US, growing at a compound annual rate of 42.7% from 2016. The IoT has the potential to bring improvements to all facets of the pharmaceutical industry, including clinical trials, manufacturing, patient monitoring and data collection and analytics.
Edge computing allows data to be processed closer to where it is created on IoT devices, sensors and mobile technology. Edge devices will continue to be developed to gather, process and analyze data locally in real-time without using the cloud. By by-passing the cloud, they also enable the secure sharing of data directly between devices.
Costly on-premise technology will be increasingly replaced by agile, cloud-based eClinical systems for organizing and conducting clinical trials. It is expected that more patients will enroll in clinical trials as sites become more mobile and flexible, supported by portable and wearable devices, such as health data trackers and electronic diaries. Geography will no longer deter patients from joining clinical trials. They will be able to remain in their own homes with fewer site visits needed.
Convenient and cost-effective eMeetings and eLearning will continue to replace their traditional in-person counterparts. Pharma companies will expand their use of virtual platforms for advisory boards, town hall meetings, investigator/site staff training, and disease state and product training to broaden their reach, improve compliance and conserve resources.
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 Forbes, “Top 8 Healthcare Predictions for 2019”, https://www.forbes.com/sites/reenitadas/2018/11/13/top-8-healthcare-predictions-for-2019/#7bdce41d700e
PWC, “Pharma 2020: From Vision to Decision”, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/pharmaceuticals-life-sciences/publications/pharma-2020.html
 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, “Top Pharma Manufacturing Predictions for 2019”, https://www.pharmamanufacturing.com/articles/2019/top-pharma-industry-predictions-for-2019/
 R&D, “ Outlook 2019: Tech, Data, and Biotech Boom”, https://www.rdmag.com/article/2018/10/outlook-2019-tech-data-and-biotech-boom
 Pharma Voice, “2019 Social Media Trends for Pharma”, https://www.pharmavoice.com/article/2019-01-social-media-trends/
 Global Data, “IoT software and services in the pharmaceutical sector will be worth $2.4 billion by 2020”, https://www.globaldata.com/iot-software-services-pharmaceutical-sector-will-worth-2-4-billion-2020-says-globaldata/
 Information Age, “Healthcare and edge computing: responsive healthcare”, https://www.information-age.com/edge-computing-responsive-healthcare-123476810/
 European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Magazine. “Predictions for pharma in 2019”, https://www.epmmagazine.com/opinion/predictions-for-pharma-in-2019/