Technology integration needed as drugmakers economize


As pharmaceutical manufacturers and other life sciences companies cut back their budgets, they are looking for technological solutions.

As pharmaceutical manufacturers and other life sciences companies make budget cutbacks, they are looking to integrate more technologies such as electronic medical records (EMR).

The largest global pharmaceutical companies will need to reduce combined operating costs by $36 billion annually through 2017 to maintain their operating margins and current levels of research and development, according to the new IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics study, Riding the Information Technology Wave in Life Sciences: Priorities, Pitfalls and Promise.

In addition, 40% of IT, marketing, sales, operations and management executives surveyed said they will make cutbacks of more than 10% in the next three years, IMS Institute found.

As a result, 74% of those surveyed want to derive greater value from many healthcare information technologies. More than 70% of executives surveyed said that new investments in a customer relationship management, social media, and integrated multi-channel marketing solutions were also priorities.

“Realizing the full benefit from new technologies will be a high priority for all life sciences companies as commercialization approaches are revised amid changing customer demands and a growing need for efficiency,” said Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. “Applications that are healthcare-specific, cloud-based, integrated, secure, and analytically powerful will yield tremendous advantage to these organizations, and ultimately to patients and the health system overall.”



Interoperability of technology systems is an “urgent and critical” need, according to the IMS study. “Integrated systems, cited by 85% of survey respondents as a need for optimizing their commercial organizations, are increasingly viewed as a means to improve workflow speed, eliminate conflicting data interpretations across departments, and reduce the cost of vendor teams managing manual data handoffs,” according to an IMS statement. “Life sciences organizations are seeking pre-built, cloud-based application suites as a means to achieve these enterprise-wide system efficiencies.”

The executives also said that mobile applications are likely to play a greater role in keeping patients more engaged in their own healthcare, which will help to deliver targeted, helpful information to healthcare providers and payers. Nearly 60% of survey respondents rated patient apps as “extremely or very important” to address commercial challenges, while 69% similarly rated investments in physician apps.

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