Second Opinion: Healthcare In 2025 – Outpatients On The Rise

2021-07-19 |  Shrinivas Anikhindi

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Today in Second Opinion, we’re stepping beyond 2021 into a future where COVID is no longer with us, offices no longer exist, and people are no longer suspicious of “one tiny drop” diagnostic companies.

We’ll look at the future of healthcare, and what role pharma will be expected to play. And we’ll also look at Prescription Digital Therapeutics (PDTs) - an incredibly exciting evolution in the delivery of digital health.

Here's everything from the Pharma Industry that you need to know this month:

2025: Fewer flying cars, more blood tests

In a recent report by Deloitte predicting the future of healthcare in 2025, analysts laid out the key trends they believe will shape the next 5 years. So what have we got to look forward to?

Healthcare is leaving hospitals behind…

With rapidly ageing populations (11% of the globe will be over-65 in 2025), and chronic diseases becoming more common, patients will require smaller, more frequent health interventions rather than big interventions such as surgeries.

Thanks to the increasing sophistication and accessibility of therapeutic and diagnostic tech (the global virtual diagnostics market will grow 15.5% by 2030, and the global telemedicine market 19.3% by 2025), outpatient clinics will not only meet these patient needs, but they’ll also unlock the ability to collect a vast array of patient health data to keep doctors in the loop.

Is healthcare leaving doctors behind too?

The report also suggests that as consciousness of health needs increases, more patients will take ownership of their wider health through using supplements, self-monitoring tools, and making better lifestyle choices.

Pharma will need to be poised to provide these tools and to factor increased patient agency into their offerings.

Our Second Opinion: Pharma’s time to shine

This vision will inevitably need assistance from pharma companies:

To deliver better offerings that can meet a wider range of needs throughout the patient journey – i.e., not just at the point of care.

To provide infrastructure for data collection, analysis, and delivery to HCPs, ensuring that they remain part of this transformation.

If pharma and healthcare work together to create this vision, the potential upsides are manifold.

What else we've been reading

Does Finland have the most future-proofed healthcare system in Europe?

This website by FutureProofing Healthcare Europe discusses the analysis undertaken by FPHE to assess exactly how future-proofed different healthcare systems around the world are – that is, how ready they are to meet increasing pressures of cost and sustainability.

The data is compiled from analysis of policies, reports, and past behaviour, and serves as a useful roadmap to see which healthcare environments are best prepared for the next wave of Life Sciences innovation and pilots.

Finland places first in this framework, largely due to its commitment to Start-up funding and Data infrastructure. Interestingly, within the EU5 only Germany and the UK score top 5 (2nd and 5th respectively), with others being held back in areas of Policy Context (the policies and frameworks required to facilitate personalised health) and Health Information (the data and technical infrastructure required to deliver personalised health).

FPHE is an initiative launched as a partnership between Roche and the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, and features a range of experts from various NGOs and think tanks.

Approvals for Apps?

Prescription Digital Therapeutics, or PDTs, are a broad new therapeutic class describing any product which treats diseases through digital interventions and are approved in the same way as traditional medications, e.g. a digital monitoring tool, or a mobile app which tracks digital biomarkers based on responses to self-reported symptoms.

Why should you care? Because they’re the next step in therapeutics, especially as health becomes more decentralised and interventions more targeted. Prescriptions and approval processes are key to putting these at the core of the pharmaceutical offering.

Read more about saMDs, RCTs and the IMDRF in the full report from Exits and Outcomes. They also have a number of newsletters on funding, clinical updates, the full works. Go ahead and take a peek.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

21,72 total articles published on digital therapeutics - 2015 - 18.
153 number of those articles which were peer-reviewed, with data.

If there’s anything more commonly paired with new technology than hype, it's hype without a fact-checker.

A McKinsey review of the future of digital therapeutics did some digging to assess just how many of the papers on potential breakthrough technologies survived when held up to the light. Turns out, not many.

These articles may not be invalid, but this statistic suggests that a large number of start-ups and labs are submitting their work through open access journals which have limited capacity to peer-review, and therefore apply a degree of rigour to validating the results of these papers. This poses a potential risk to anyone in the healthcare industry who is betting on the success of these projects.

So is there a future in digital therapeutics? Most likely there still is. Great strides have been made and the rigour applied to approval processes is only increasing. However, as with all things, trust but verify.

*The European path to reimbursement for digital health solutions, 2020, McKinsey

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