Life sciences companies face several challenges in the current marketplace, including changing customer expectations, geopolitical instability, economic pressures and internal resistance to change. Industry executives have a cautiously optimistic performance outlook for 2023, with 50 percent citing inflation and 48 percent citing economic recession as the top concerns.1

Despite these challenges, companies must implement deep structural changes, develop digital capabilities and create more value with agile operating models. To accomplish this, companies must place the customer at the heart of all activities and re-consider their existing approaches toward Healthcare Professionals (HCP), patients and other key stakeholders.

Against this backdrop, WNS partnered with Impatient Health, a life sciences-focused consulting firm, to conduct a workshop with senior executives from the pharma industry. Themed “Embrace Customer Leadership,” the workshop examined key challenges and how the industry can achieve new levels of growth, better clinical information and outcomes by disrupting the status quo.

Commercial analytics is vital to customer leadership, enabling enterprises to propel revenue growth. Through effective segmentation, smarter targeting and informed strategy, companies can anticipate customer needs and improve commercial performance.

“Customer Leadership is a radical departure from traditional market research. It's about empowering companies to initiate bold, data-driven interactions that challenge the status quo and foster collaborative exploration of new possibilities.”

Paul Simms,
Chief Executive, Impatient Health

Leading companies are embracing these capabilities to extract actionable insights from high-quality data and personalize customer experiences by segmenting physicians based on the patients they treat, the drugs they are likely to prescribe, the preferred channels, their online behaviors and the Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) they follow.

From Push to Pull: Re-imagining HCP Engagement

A vital takeaway from the workshop was the need to re-consider how life sciences companies engage with HCPs. Considering HCPs’ proximity to patients, life sciences companies can empower these professionals and elevate patient care.

HCPs increasingly want to engage with Medical Science Liaisons (MSL) for knowledge and guidance on clinical research and new treatment modalities. Consequently, MSL executives are influencing critical decisions in medical affairs, therapy and disease management. A survey in Spain revealed that 94 percent of pharma professionals believe MSLs play a crucial role in compliance and a strategic role internally and externally (76 percent) in the company’s affairs.2

A recent McKinsey study shows that life sciences companies expect digital and analytics to re-invent engagement with HCPs.3 This objective can be achieved with a strategic shift toward a pull, rather than a push, approach in HCP engagement. Life sciences companies can enhance the provision of information to HCPs by identifying where and when HCPs seek information. For instance, many initiatives are exploring using Electronic Health Records (EHR) to trigger product information at the point of prescribing. By doing so, HCPs can easily access up-to-date and relevant information about a product as they make treatment decisions, resulting in better patient outcomes.

Engagement strategies are moving toward two-way communication. This translates into capturing the inputs of key stakeholders and utilizing them to make better decisions. Moreover, with advancements in analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), it’s easier to identify what matters to HCPs, the best treatments and how patients are doing.

Post-pandemic, almost a third of HCPs in Europe prefer a mix of digital and in-person engagement modes.4 Pharma companies must leverage data-driven insights to provide personalized information HCPs seek on their preferred channel. However, this is uncharted territory for most companies. They must partner with experts who understand the industry and possess deep data and digital capabilities to provide the right information to the right person at the right time.

Patient Empowerment with Education: Adherence and Prevention

One of the workshop participants observed, “Patients don’t care about who makes the treatment that works for them. They care about getting the right treatment.” However, adherence is critical to making the treatment effective, and life sciences companies must educate and engage with patients to promote compliance and effective treatment outcomes.

A comprehensive engagement strategy must recognize the shift in customer preference for communication platforms and channels and formulate appropriate strategies to disseminate information.

Simultaneously, life sciences companies should leverage genetic data for portfolio management. Digital is making it easier to store and track genetic information and get insights into family history, disease propensities and how genetic makeup affects treatment modalities. The amalgamation of such data and predictive analytics can empower HCPs to deliver preventive healthcare.

Genetic information and digital medicine products such as mobile apps, wearables and sensors are facilitating a shift toward preventive healthcare and wellness at scale. Data enriched with insights from genetic information, healthcare providers, doctors, payers, decisions made at different junctures and the rationale behind those decisions provide deep insights and allow HCPs to anticipate and drive personalized care.

Value-based Pricing: Translating Hype into Hope

Value is the highest possible health gain for patients with the appropriate product choice measured against the cost of care. Yet the reality is different. Drug prices in the US surpass those in Australia, Canada and France by as much as two to four times.6 50 percent of Americans don’t take their chronic long-term therapy medications as prescribed.7 Further, a survey found that 29 percent abandoned prescription due to high costs.8

There is an opportunity for life sciences companies to become an integral part of the care delivery process and collaborate with payers to implement outcome-based pricing. Pharma commercial analytics is enabling companies to forecast health economics and business planning with accurate insights into the commercial value of assets and possible opportunities using advanced modeling.

A systematic evaluation of a product or health intervention, including therapeutic, social, economic, organizational and ethical factors, becomes a winning proposition for all stakeholders – patients get access to better care and expensive medicines; payers get guaranteed outcomes with less money; and drug companies get volume and real-world evidence to improve drug efficacy.

Collaborating to Win and Build Resilience

Collaborating with competition has increased relevance today. Widely known as ‘coopetition,’ it has been exemplified by technology companies. For instance, FinTechs closely collaborate with banks, even as they may become full-fledged banks and compete with traditional banks.

Life sciences companies must make headway in coopetition and collaborative strategies, particularly when sharing data. To achieve speed and scale, they must balance product development and frameworks through partnerships with stakeholders. It is time to re-look at existing practices and embed collaboration in drug development to create more significant outcomes.

An Opportunity to Change and Lead with Purpose

The internal resistance to change further complicates the challenges faced by the life sciences industry. Therefore, a comprehensive review process to re-invent and re-align is necessary to survive and thrive. Backed by top leadership, companies must design a well-thought-out plan to understand the customer – HCPs, patients and the population. This can be achieved through systematic data collection and proofs of concepts. Life sciences companies must lean on partners with deep industry knowledge and expertise in analytics and innovative operating models to deliver commercial outcomes.

Importantly, it calls for an industry-wide effort to exploit the inherent power of collaborative partnerships and adopt smart technology approaches. Moreover, the imperatives of the life sciences industry present an opportunity to change, lead with purpose and shape its role as a catalyst for health and healing.

To know more about how WNS can partner in your commercial analytics-led Customer Leadership journey, talk to our experts.










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