IDC Health Insights webinar: Predictions 2011

I’m joining another IDC Predictions webinar this evening: this one is their Health Insights contribution to the overall Predictions suite (I reported on the general Predictions webinar recently too). From the point of view of an ex-Pharma employee, I want to see where the balance comes between healthcare provision and pharmaceuticals. I’m expecting a fairly US-centric view of the world, but prepared to be pleasantly surprised, because the presenters include Jan Duffy, Research Director, EMEA.

Something to look out for on the side: information about IDC’s “new Executive Program”. I’ll report on this shortly too.

To the content. And we’re promised relevance to life science as well as healthcare, with a focus on IT decisions. That’s hopeful. The context is on industry transformations through networking, analytics and longer term trends. And the presenters represent what Scott Lindstrom calls “a 360-degree integrated view” of healthcare. Also (later) there are, it appears, separate Predictions at the more detailed levels.

But … here we go … the drivers listed are all US legislation and American demographics. The jury’s out on the global perspective, I think. But the predication of “Reform-driven disruption” to market models may apply outside the USA. I’m skimping attention to discussion of integrated healthcare provision, but some of the technological side is essentially monitoring and telecare – something which in the UK is being promoted within social services rather than health. (Later … just been told there will be a separate Europe-focussed event … so although Jan Duffy is chipping in, the pleasant surprise has probably been postponed.)

We’re moving on to the Pharma industry where healthcare reform (i.e. provider-side) impacts the industry’s model. Trends such as a focus on emerging markets and cost measures including outsourcing don’t sound new. Smart analytics and better use of information have been trends for a long time (and sometimes they’ve been realised). Collaboration is of course crucial: but are there really novel methods of facilitated partnership emerging? It feels much more like what, in GSK, was regarded as “business as usual” several years ago.

Now, a focus on “three key themes”.

  • Actionable analytics: analysing clinical data to identify early interventions, integrate functions and reduce costs isn’t that new though. I have a new (American) acronym: ACO (Accountable Care Organisation), whatever the concept is … Jan Duffy, from the perspective of European government-funded healthcare, believes this side of the pond is actually ahead in this area. For IT, the key is the increasing importance of communications networks
  • For the life science industry this seems to be reinforcing trends that were already there: improving the payback from increasingly limited contact time with physicians (“detailing”), and in the US the implementation of rules about spending which requires unifying data about clinicians contacted both for sales and for research. Expect more on-line contact and less face-to-face. But there’s a benefit in this single view too in enhancing the relationship.
  • Second theme: advanced infrastructure and storage with demands from electronic medical records, storage of diagnostic images, and more. There’s a tech trend here to enterprise-wide, rather than departmental, storage solutions (dare one say “private cloud”? IDC didn’t … but they have just said “vendor-neutral archive” and “centralised storage”. Ah, “Cloud storage”). Storage for medical records is high profile in IDC, with separate themes and reports. And in the payor space, data explosion may stimulate business reorganisation, new structures and competitive opportunities.
  • Third theme (surprise!) is Cloud. As those of us who have tracked this under various headings for some years know, Cloud (“consumerised”) services are fast, flexible and effective to respond to a shifting market and new operating models. They assert that SaaS CRM is now the default for Pharma. And what about “ERM (electronic medical record) as a Service”? I think the prediction can be summarised as “Cloud really is taking off” – especially when linked to business process outsourcing, and especially again if the providers will share the compliance risk.

Summary: interesting discussion. I don’t recognise anything startlingly new in these predictions, which is a valuable insight in its own right, though the data explosion (and consequent storage impact) may be reaching tipping point at least in the US. Interesting idea that infrastructure providers might share compliance risk; I’ve always been taught that you can’t outsource this kind of responsibility.

Links:
Health Insights Predictions 2011, IDC webinar, 12 Jan 2011 (replay)
IDC Webinar: Predictions 2011, ITasITis, 2 Dec 2010
IDC Insights Community provides links to a wide range of content. Especially if you’re not a member, the analyst blogs are valuable

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