Digital & the healthcare industry

What digital can do for you

In a rapidly-changing world, the healthcare industry, and particularly pharmaceutical companies have been cautious to adopt digital.  Whereas other industries such as retail or banking were early adopters (ATKearney, 2015), pharma executives have been working to define the risk-benefit ratio of digitalising their business.

Historically, the healthcare industry was successful at adopting earlier waves of digitalisation (such as data atomisation or standardisation of repetitive tasks) but are struggling to adopt and adapt this latest wave of innovation, due to fears related to regulation or privacy concerns,  as well as trying to better understand the needs and behaviour of multiple stakeholders (McKinsey, 2014).

Using digital technologies to reinvent the way healthcare is delivered and works (PWC, 2014) represents a significant opportunity for the pharmaceutical sector. Indeed, the healthcare industry should review perceptions on the value of digital, and  define and work to embrace digital technologies as the bridge between time, expectations and educational gaps between patients, HCPs and pharma companies themselves (PWC, 2014) (ATKearney, 2015).

Patients are also becoming more independent from their HCPs, with help from the rise of online communities and other independent information channels where they can share and discuss their experience and their treatments (McKinsey, 2015).

However, patients are not the only ones concerned by this trend. ATKearney (2015) has found that Wikipedia in now the world’s most popular website for HCPs worldwide, and is often found to provide the main source of information before the use of more specialised databases, disease resources and published articles.

Additionally, pharma companies are now also being challenged by fierce and unlikely competitors. Techno-lifestyle brands such as Apple or IBM engage with patients through health and fitness apps and wearable devices, and by creating online communities for patients and consumers. Additionally, they can now also gather additional data by collecting digital medical records or insurance claims, enabling them to gather relevant insights and create more targeted tools (McKinsey, 2015).

The above points are mere examples of the opportunities for the healthcare industry.  By welcoming, embracing and mastering digital, it can become a core driver in business growth.

How can we help you to use digital more effectively? Contact us.


  1. Warc (2014) Eighth Annual Online Marketing Effectiveness Benchmarks for the Pharmaceutical Industry. Accessible from here.
  2. McKinsey and Company (2014) Healthcare digital future. Accessible from here.
  3. PWC (2014) Healthcare delivery of the future: How digital technology can bridge time and distance between clinicians and consumers. Accessible from here.
  4. McKinsey and Company (2015) The road to digital success in pharma. Accessible from here.
  5. ATKearney (2015) New Medicine for a New World Time for Pharma to Dive into Digital. Accessible from here.