Written by Mike Spence
Mar 18, 2016

Digital Pharma Europe

A review of the recent Digital Pharma Europe 2016 conference

Two worlds collide

Digital Pharma Europe is the leading digital technology event in the Pharmaceutical industry. I was delighted to get the opportunity to attend and represent Brightec and our work in this field.

Having not been before, I was unsure how the two worlds of the Digital industry (obviously our background) and the Pharmaceutical industry would collide. 

The Alderley Park Conference Centre is really impressive, situated in 400 acres of Cheshire woodland. On arrival for day #1, the Digital Technologies and Social/Innovation Day, I was greeted with smiles and coffee, there aren't many better ways to start the day!

Patient Centricity

The opening sessions included a mixture of digital case studies alongside some brilliant and moving patient case studies.

When these stories were combined it was inspiring to hear how digital technologies had not only helped but supported, and in some cases, given new opportunities to individuals. 

These sessions triggered numerous conversations in the networking breaks about what is currently possible and what could be possible in the future for diagnosis, treatment & support.

What particularly piqued our interest was seeing how the Pharmaceutical industry is starting to build and develop medicines and devices with 'Patient Centricity' as the driving force.

At the core of Brightec we're passionate about user-focused development. We're constantly seeking to discover who exactly will be using the application and what their requirements are. Without a doubt, having a clear user-focus is the best place to start in both the digital and pharmaceutical industries (and increasingly working in partnership together).

"of those willing to use a mobile app to manage their health, 45% were willing to use a mobile app to communicate with their doctor"

Multichannel Communication

As the event went on, alongside the theme of 'Patient Centricity', there was also a large focus on another buzz-phrase - 'Multichannel Communication'.

In short; this is not just relying on a single way of reaching people but designing and building content around each platform. For example; a social media channel, email list, website or application.

As with Patient Centricity, the focus here is with putting both information and power back into the hands of the people who are actually in need of this content (rather than merely assuming what they want to read). 

To illustrate this, we learned that of those willing to use a mobile app to manage their health an astonishing 45% were willing to use a mobile app to communicate with their doctor.

Also, 43% of people access 'the doctor's office' online first. They favour advice from physicians and experts through websites and apps before going to their doctor.

This highlights the urgent need for the health care system to utilise available digital tools and catch-up with the latest technological developments.

"There is an urgent need for the health care system to catch up and utilise available digital tools"

Patient protection v technological support

One of the big concerns raised during the event was around the subject of 'patient contact'. An important and challenging issue within the Pharmaceutical industry.

It was sad to hear that some of the best technologies that have been developed in the UK still haven't been approved. To discover that many of these same technologies have been successfully deployed, improving patient care, in multiple countries around the world was particularly galling. 

Of course, the regulations (and regulatory bodies) work hard to protect the patient. The integrity of these should not be compromised but what a shame that some of these new technologies could take years to come into the market here and to the detriment of the patient.

In one case, it was brilliant to hear of The Churchill Hospital Oxford working with a patient to help realise his idea (which is now being used by people all over the UK). 

A digital future for the Pharmaceutical industry

Here at Brightec we're excited about the possible solutions that technology can offer to better diagnose, support and improve the quality of life for people all over the world.

This view was only reinforced by attending Digital Pharma Europe 2016.

If you'd like to talk with us about how we could serve you then simply get in touch. We'd love to help.