I was asked to explain the effect of Healthcare reform on information technology (IT), and my answer involves: using IT to provide process innovation. Why process innovation and not product innovation? This conclusion begins with the current debate on healthcare, which is quickly moving us to more government intervention to:
- Reduce costs for what Medicare will pay for drugs and devices
- Tax rates on the ‘rich’ will go up making venture capital more expensive
- Stricter FDA regulations and more of a focus on drug safety and comparative effectiveness
Yet there are some benefits as a result of the stimulus for Healthcare IT, which many technology companies (SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Siemens and Oracle) will see as a market opportunity. I recently attended the BioConference Live event last week (http://www.bioconferencelive.com/). “An on-line only conference for the Life Sciences and Biotech community.” (The first time I’ve ever gone to a conference without having to travel, highly recommended with lots of interesting sessions.) Steven Burrill, CEO gave an insightful presentation on “Biotech 2009: Life Sciences Navigating the Sea Change.” What I came away with from his presentation was:
- Big Pharma will be looking to leverage their specialization around disease care spectrum
- Generics will continue to boom
- A new healthcare business landscape will appear from a convergence of technology that targets patients with specific treatment programs
All of this relies on ‘integrated’ technology platforms, data mining and integration services. For example, there are opportunities within Clinical Development to lower costs by ‘integrating’ the processes used for clinical trials. Managing clinical trials data from FDA submission through product launch can be improved. When we have electronic health records, and access to patient information, how do we manage to use this data for our supply chain in order to deliver ‘individual’ treatment programs? New services will arise because of the need to ‘integrate’ traditional client-server installations with hosted solutions.
I believe that the move to Personalized Medicine is inevitable. (The move away from ‘blockbuster’ drugs to ‘targeted treatments’ based on genetic makeup of an individual.) Healthcare reform will happen. We are now in the beginning of a fundamental shift in redefining how health care will be delivered.
Access to the Steven Burrill presentation as well as other discussions on a wide variety of biotechnology topics can be found on www.bioconferencelive.com.