The pharmaceutical industry, a key component of the overall healthcare ecosystem, is now feeling the effects of, and taking part in, the digitisation of medical tools.

Digital Tools Leading to Entrepreneurial Transformation of the Healthcare Industry

Interview with Marco Mohwinckel, a Partner at Janssen Healthcare Innovation, which is developing leading-edge innovative solutions to help modernise the healthcare ecosystem, on the sidelines of the Health 2.0 event in London on 17-19 November, where he ran a session.

L'Atelier: Does the penetration of e-health tools point to a fundamental change in the healthcare industry?

Marco Mohwinckel: Seeing advances in technology being embraced by healthcare practitioners, entrepreneurs and manufacturers is exciting and it’s an essential development. This is the result of changes in the way healthcare and treatment are developed and delivered. These new digital tools are key to helping modernise the way treatment is provided and to enabling players in the healthcare industry to address the major challenges – i.e. improving patient management and monitoring, and patients’ own involvement in and adherence to healthcare programmes.

What does the future hold for pharma laboratories with the arrival of these applications and new products on the market? Won’t they end up just being service suppliers?

Evolution towards a more entrepreneurial market is certainly the result of changes in the way products are developed and delivered, and the healthcare industry is no exception. I don’t expect to see medical laboratories lose their traditional role, but we must continue to identify, test and bring to the market new pharmaceutical products that enable more accurate prediction and better management of medical conditions.  It’s true though that we’re currently witnessing a real transition in the way our industry works. We’re seeing, for example, an ever-increasing number of encounters between the life sciences and technological innovation in Europe. Take for example Silicon Roundabout Europe, where partnerships are being forged between healthcare practitioners, universities, entrepreneurs, manufacturers and the government. This effectively means the convergence of expertise on the one hand and on the other the evolution of technologies that help to involve the patient in his/her own treatment, which will help to structure the way the healthcare industry goes forward.

How do you see the future of m-Health?

In the United States, they estimate that the digital health sector was worth close to $1.7 billion in 2010, and experts are already forecasting a substantial rise to over $5.7 billion by 2015. Even though there hasn’t yet been any proper assessment of potential market volumes in Europe, it’s clear that the market is steadily rising. Yes, there are still challenges ahead in terms of the penetration of digital tools, but it seems that progress as regards the digitisation of medical tools and practices is becoming a central focus – if not actually the cornerstone – of the new healthcare ecosystem.

By Quentin Capelle