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Digital Health Q1 2022

Digital Innovation in the life sciences sector

Molecule structure. Genetic engineering of the future. 3d illustration

Julian David

CEO, techUK

As the life science sector delves further into thinking ‘beyond the pill’, opportunities for collaboration with digital health continue to grow.

While pharmaceutical companies are working towards a more holistic approach to meeting patient and NHS needs, digital health providers are similarly striving to achieve a greater understanding of the demand from within the life sciences industry.

Opportunities for collaboration

With digital transformation firmly cemented as critical to the future of healthcare, particularly considering the acceleration in digital adoption seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increasing interest from pharmaceutical investment and partnerships with digital health providers.

The life cycle and development of digital health technologies is faster paced than traditional pharmaceutical research and development, so joint working will require greater agility, as well as an improved understanding from the technology industry of the environment it must foster to facilitate these partnerships.

Speaking with our members, it is clear there is a need for avenues for awareness-raising and the sharing of insights into developments across both industries. This needs to be collated and distributed between pharmaceutical and digital health providers, as well as to their partners within the NHS and the wider health ecosystem. Fostering this ecosystem will be fundamental to a future in which the wider health ecosystem collaborates to deliver a common goal.

The life cycle and development of digital health technologies is faster paced than traditional pharmaceutical research and development.

Understanding the needs of the NHS

As the NHS moves towards an integrated approach to health and care, the way it works with industry partners must reflect this. By increasing transparency and improving demand-signalling for the innovations it most needs, the NHS can exist at the centre of an integrated ecosystem, cutting across all sectors and public sector bodies with an interest in health and care.

Creating a shared list of the priorities we are trying to solve will be crucial if digital health and life sciences are to work in true partnership with each other and with the NHS.

Providing the platform

There is a complex network of industry partners and public sector organisations which, through multi-way collaboration, can help tackle some of the crises facing the NHS right now. These industries and bodies can work together to connect the chain of functions needed to improve care for patients and help the NHS by working towards an improved data environment, more efficient research, effective regulation, clear demand-signalling and cutting-edge digital innovation.

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