Reflections and predictions for 2023 - European Medical Journal

Reflections and predictions for 2023

2 Mins
The outlook for the coming year is one of positivity and progress, but what key trends and themes do industry experts predict will be in store for pharma over the next 12 months?
Words by Helena Beer

The start of a new year provides ample opportunity for reflection, prediction and planning, and the dawn of 2023 is no different. For the pharmaceutical industry, there are some obvious developments that will continue to unfold, such as digital transformation and shifts in medical affairs, but what do GOLD’s experts think will be the key trends, themes and drivers of industry change throughout 2023?

Digital developments

While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly quickened the pace of digital transformation in the healthcare and pharmaceutical spaces, there’s no doubt more to come as new technologies are imagined, existing ones improved and companies become more open to, and comfortable with, their adoption, integration and potential.

And, indeed, for Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO, ORCHA, this potential is vast. Speaking on The GOLD Podcast’s ‘2023 pharma forecast’ episode, she comments that wider implementation of digital healthcare is certainly a trend that will be seen throughout the year. In particular, she highlights the somewhat inevitable adoption of a digital-first approach to healthcare to deal with demand and reduce waiting times – a development that she says will “unfortunately” replace digital’s current role as an important enhancement to face-to-face care.

It’s now or never for concrete action on digital transformation and shaping omnichannel strategy with medical insights

Digital developments will also be seen more centrally within the pharma industry, according to Haider Alleg, General Partner, Allegory Capital, who predicts an increase in key opinion leaders and the patient voice resulting from the growth of social platforms such as TikTok, where new communities will develop at a speed and scale never seen previously. “The speed and the quality of those interactions will outperform any marketing team that we have seen operating before,” he explains, adding that it’s a trend that “shouldn’t be taken lightly” within pharma companies.

Both Liz and Haider, also highlight regulation of the digital space as something to watch out for in the coming year as it will become increasingly important in terms of safety, data security and more.

Delving into the data

As more technologies are adopted, the more data is produced, and Emma Booth, Executive Director, Global Business Process and Insights Lead, R&D Strategy and Operations, Amgen, recognises that this will only become more prevalent in 2023. There will be a continued rise in the volume of data available to pharma and a subsequent need for the industry to unlock its value across the drug development and commercialisation process.

“The winners in the coming 12 months are going to be those people that can really be agile and utilise innovative ways to integrate this data to drive faster and more accurate decision making within the organisation,” she says, adding that this will be facilitated by a renewed focus on recruiting curious and open-minded individuals with new and diverse skillsets to integrate technology and build cross-industry partnerships.

Movement in medical affairs

This shift in required capabilities will also be seen in the medical affairs function, according to John Wahba, Medical Head of the Global Digital Hub, GSK, who says “it’s now or never” for concrete action on digital transformation and shaping omnichannel strategy with medical insights. Digital experience and skills will be vital, as will pursuing collaborations with digital opinion leaders for content creation and adopting virtual influencers to provide relatable, personalised and interactive customer experiences.

Continuity of care

Collaborations may also be seen between pharma and healthcare as a result of absenteeism and departures among physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Jennifer Cain Birkmose, Co-Founder and CEO, Viva Valet elder support digital platform, predicts a “huge theme of fatigue, exhaustion and depletion in the healthcare sector” in the post-COVID world, and a growing momentum over the course of the year of staff shortages and strikes, as seen in the UK in January, for example.

The winners in the coming 12 months are going to be those people that can really be agile

The subsequent gap in the delivery of healthcare services and risk to vulnerable populations is a growing concern. Also speaking on the podcast predictions episode, Isabel O’Brien, Assistant Editor, GOLD, adds: “If the [pharma] industry hopes to continue delivering its medicines and treatments to vulnerable patient populations in the year ahead, companies must look to support the healthcare system wherever it can.”

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