Digital Insights: Pharma’s 2013 Tech Trends

Jan. 15, 2013
A recent report from Accenture highlights six technology trends that will influence Big Pharma in the years ahead.

What do recent advances in technology mean for Big Pharma in the New Year? A recent report from Accenture, “Technology Vision: What It Means for Life Science,” discusses the following six technology trends that will influence the pharma and life sciences industries over the next few years.

1) Tracking: 4G, Apps, Wireless Sensors.

With today’s use of location-based technologies on smart phones, tablets and devices, pharma companies are finding new ways to engage patients and track relevant drug-safety information.

Through patient apps in particular, detailed data can be catalogued in real-time not only to help improve patient safety, but also to provide companies pertinent drug information.

“These technologies can help bring products to market more quickly by allowing patients to provide real-time data right from their own homes,” said Anne O’Riordan, Global Managing Director of Accenture’s Life Sciences industry group.

2) ‘Big Data’ Merging for Increased Efficiency.

With access to new data forms, pharma companies will need to collaborate and use “Big Data,” the catchall term for the explosion of data and technologies emerging to support it, in order to make efficient and timely decisions on drugs and safety. Healthcare professionals are seeing the merge of electronic medical records (EMR) data, genomic and genetic data, financial data and patient-reported data to help give insight into overall drug and therapy value for patients and healthcare systems. 

3) Collaborative Data Services.

Following in a similar vein, as companies collect this targeted data, they must find venues and opportunities to merge and share it. One area of pharma that will benefit from increased data merging services is R&D. According to Accenture’s forecast, “Data services will enable R&D organizations to organize data from multiple outlets, including contract research organizations (CROs), academic institutions, research lab partners and public health institutes.”

4) Increased Social Media.

Big Pharma has made progress in leaps and bounds in regard to its social media participation in the face of FDA and legal restrictions, and this will continue to be a growth point in 2013. Forums such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can help companies better understand their customers’ needs, experiences and issues while also tracking information, trends and patterns for drug safety.

5) The Cloud.

The Cloud has served in the past as a tool for sales and marketing, but now cloud capability is expanding to meet all areas of pharma. Platform as a Service (Paas) is what Accenture said will have the largest applicability in pharma.

“PaaS, is a complete, pre-integrated platform that facilitates the deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing underlying hardware, software or hosting capabilities,” it says.

6) Security Technology.

As data is now so publicly available, life science companies will have to invest in new security technologies to avoid risks, threats and information breaches.

What other technologies do you think pharma will embrace in 2013? Let us know: [email protected].

"Six Tech Trends That Will Shape the Pharma Industry in 2013," Industry Week.

About the Author

Michele V. Wagner | Senior Digital Editor