5 minute read 24 Sep 2019
Applying Bandage

What impact does e-health have now and what does the future look like?

By

Lucien De Busscher

EY WEM Life Sciences Leader

Pharma. Med Device. Healthcare. Performance Improvement. Finance. Supply Chain. Post merger integration

5 minute read 24 Sep 2019

There is an enormous amount of data available about our health. Quite a number of interesting insights can be obtained from this, for the healthcare sector, for the government and for the consumer him/herself.

The digitization of patient data in electronic medical records: that is e-health in the limited sense of the word. Broadly speaking, e-health is the frictionless sharing and combining of data in integrated care platforms, leading to patient empowerment and better results.

Insights from data

There is an enormous amount of data available about our health, spread between doctors, health insurance companies and mobile devices. More and more interesting insights from data are brought to the surface. For example, a hospital can perfectly analyze which orthopedic doctors achieve the best outcomes or handle resources most efficiently.

Did you know that when implanting a new knee, up to three sets of materials are sometimes sterilized, just to find the right size for the patient? And that while a Belgian company like Materialize simply prints the knee in 3D…

While American health insurance companies rely on data insights to create added value, health insurance funds and hospitals in Belgium are barely encouraged to do so and there is even resistance to fully exploit data. They use data at most for internal information and not to optimize healthcare. This set-up of our insurance system has an impact on the speed of digitization in Belgium. Although the Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health, Maggie De Block, has now set a positive course to gain better insights from 'real world evidence'.

In Belgium, insights from data are used sub-optimally.
Lucien De Busscher
EY WEM Life Sciences Leader

Ecosystems with better results

E-health means that healthcare platforms will be created: first different platforms around one (chronic) disorder or health issue, later perhaps one main platform per disorder. In these ecosystems, traditional and non-traditional healthcare providers will combine and share data. If pharmaceutical and biotech companies want to continue to play a significant role, they will have to enter into partnerships with digital health companies, technology companies and healthcare financers.

The care platforms will enable patients or therefore consumers to take control of their own health. They will also have a positive impact on the results of care provision. For example, a company like Welldoc is used by health insurance companies to improve the results of diabetes treatments. After all, the success of such treatment depends not only on medication – by the way, the more chronic a disease, the less likely patients are to adhere to their therapy – but also on the patient's lifestyle. The Welldoc coach app guides type 2 diabetics in their diet, exercise and medication intake.

Another example is the Proteus digital chemotherapy pill, which registers via a sensor if and when the patient is taking his or her medication. The goal here also is to achieve better results with the prescribed treatment.

Policy choices based on data

Results become more measurable as well as more important as governments and health insurance companies base their financing policy on real world evidence. Who must capture those results and how, that is another pertinent question. We believe that more and more data exchanges will take place and intermediaries will enter the field to certify the accuracy of dat

Shift to prevention

The shift from treatment to prevention is also accelerating with the development of e-health. Traditional health companies feel the new players breathing down their necks. From an analysis by EY it appears that Alphabet, Microsoft and Apple took out no fewer than 313 health patents between 2013 and 2017 in the US.

In terms of prevention, we spontaneously think of Fitbit and the Apple Watch, which have a very good cardio function. Ancestry maps your genetic profile for 100 dollars. There are apps that analyze moles. Or the Belgian Remedus which monitors 22,000 patients with various pathologies and informs a doctor if something in their status betrays a problem. On the other hand, the NightOwl app can very accurately diagnose sleep apnea without the patient having to spend the night in a sleep clinic. A health insurance company could oblige truck drivers or people with a dangerous job to undergo preventive testing. And why not also at EY? After all, EY employees must also have a sharp mind, right?

For life sciences companies, it becomes crucial to develop an offer that makes consumers want to stay involved with them.
Lucien De Busscher
EY WEM Life Sciences Leader

Amazon as trusted health care provider

EY unleashed artificial intelligence on 40,000 mammography images. No individual oncologist has the insights that this yielded. It is clear that the doctor will not continue to be the only trusted provider of medical information in the future.

In the healthcare ecosystems of the future, heart patients will not only consult their doctor, but will also use tools that put them at ease. They retrieve advice on medication with fewer side effects from patient forums. Or maybe they enter into a contract with Amazon to have five bodily functions monitored for which they then receive a weekly report.

For life sciences companies, it becomes crucial to develop an offer that makes consumers want to stay involved with them. It is not for nothing that GSK is investing 300 million dollars in 23andMe, a company that offers individual consumers gene testing and that Roche has taken over mySugr, a digital platform that supports diabetics. As these companies create stronger links with the end users, they can integrate supplementary activities into the care process.

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Summary

E-health is the frictionless sharing and combining of data in integrated care platforms, leading to patient empowerment and better results. For life sciences companies, it becomes crucial to develop an offer that makes consumers want to stay involved with them.

About this article

By

Lucien De Busscher

EY WEM Life Sciences Leader

Pharma. Med Device. Healthcare. Performance Improvement. Finance. Supply Chain. Post merger integration