In its 39th year, JPMorgan’s annual Healthcare Conference was virtual for the first time in the event’s history. The upside? No travel on a very expensive flight into SFO, to spend thousands on a hotel room I barely spent time in. No waiting for an Uber to take me across town to an event (in the rain and wind so typical of the time of year).
Although the event was going to be virtual, we at BrightInsight wanted to continue advancing the digital health discussion as we have done for the last four years through our in-person events at JPM. So, this year, we collaborated with HealthXL to co-host our Digital Health C-Suite Series™ with luminaries from medtech, biopharma as well as the consumer, automotive and finance industries, to participate in invite-only, intimate Zoom gatherings.
Over the course of four days, several dozen biopharma and medtech executives, investors and industry influencers engaged in lively conversation with our guest speakers, as they shared lessons learned, posed insightful questions and made predictions for the future of digital adoption and transformation for biopharma and medtech.
Here’s a quick recap of our Digital Health C-Suite Series discussions:
- On January 11,
Atif Rafiq, President, Commercial & Growth, MGM Resorts and Former Chief Digital Officer, Volvo, and Amit Jhawar, Former CEO, Venmo and Venture Partner, Accel shared Lessons for Biopharma from Automotive, Retail and Banking's Digital Journey
- On January 12, Scott Huennekens, Medical Device CEO, Entrepreneur, Chairman, Board Member and Mick Farrell, CEO, ResMed
discussed What Medtech 3.0 Will Look Like as We Enter the Next Phase of Digitization
- On January 13, Kal Patel, MD, CEO & Co-Founder, BrightInsight was joined by Karan Arora, Chief Commercial Digital Officer, Global Vice President, AstraZeneca and Francesca Wuttke, Chief Digital Officer, Almirall to provide insights on Building a Strategic Digital Health Function within Biopharma
Here are some of the key themes that emerged:
1. Co-Creation of Digital is Key: Take Digital Out of the Silo
Across all of the sessions, the speakers and guests agreed that from the C-Suite to R&D and Commercial—all should feel ownership of the success of digital products.
- Over time, it’s important for the entire business to buy into digital and innovation. Commercial and R&D cannot wait for the innovation or digital teams to think about how to digitize their solutions or trials. Digital isn’t one group’s job – it’s a company-wide responsibility.
- Those same data infrastructures in Medtech that helped advance the industry early on are now slowing it down. Data siloes in legacy systems that don’t talk to each other or are not easily accessed and shared across device manufacturers, care settings, and patients and providers greatly limit the potential impact.
- Medtech has done a good job collecting and leveraging data vertically. Now it must use data more productively horizontally, across various disease states and devices.
2. Fail Fast and Keep Moving Forward.
- Embrace Google’s and other big tech’s MO: Pursue lots of projects at once and don’t be afraid to kill 4 out 5 of those and put muscle behind the fifth.
- Coach your digital teams to embrace friction and keep moving forward. Friction can be an indication that you’re making progress.
- From the start, build your digital function to easily calibrate and scale with autonomy. Allow for the moonshots. Set a goal and give the digital team space to stretch.
- Biopharma seems to be gaining on Medtech. One reason: Biopharma has done a better job of figuring out partnership strategies, allowing them to move faster and take advantage of the latest digital technologies, including the cloud.
3. Take a different approach to digital talent acquisition, cultivation and reward.
- Having a solid digital health strategy will only get you so far. Creating a culture to unleash an entrepreneurial spirit within big biopharma is paramount to successful digital health programs.
- Support from the CEO and other digital champions within biopharma can help accelerate efforts. Structure the compensation of these digital leaders / champions to encourage making digital more pervasive across the entire organization.
- In Medtech in particular, recruiting top tech talent to support a digital-first culture will be important. As a start, we are seeing movement of top developers and tech talent from Google, Apple, etc. into Medtech.
4. Show Me the Money.
Biopharma should consider investing in digital products or therapeutics the way they think about investing in traditional biopharma products and drugs.
- Biopharma should apply the same sense of urgency to developing digital products that it currently applies to developing new therapies, to manufacturing and supply chains and to commercialization.
- · Demonstrate the potential ROI of digital. Will increased use and adherence, and better outcomes offer higher dividends? Improving adherence or growing your patient population has huge potential revenue impact. A Capgemini study cited that just a 10% adherence improvement could generate an extra $124 billion in annual revenues globally across biopharma.
5. Regulatory cannot be an afterthought.
- Working with regulators from the start allows you to get ahead of the competition, creating the opportunity to define a new category and shape future regulation. Venmo did this and it paid off in spades.
- While the opportunity to work with regulators is available to both startups and incumbents, many established players do not take advantage of this.
We wrapped the C-Suite Series on Thursday evening with a virtual wine tasting with our local Sonoma favorite, Scribe Winery, featuring a fireside chat with Mark Bartolini, Former Chairman and CEO, Aetna.
All in all, a fantastic week. Thanks to everyone who joined our sessions and hope to see you all in person someday soon!