Photo: Gregory Lovas
The past few months have been an exciting one for companies in the mobile healthcare device and solutions space. There are now more than 40,000 health-related iPhone apps, and development of more apps is not expected to slow down anytime soon, particularly those of a diagnostic or medical care nature.
Novartis' My NET Manager app for patients with neuroendocrine tumours, for example, helps them manage and learn about their condition. It provides tools for users to track their symptoms, set reminders for treatments, doctor visits, and medication refills, and review and track test results. Other apps provide allergy sufferers with location-based information on local pollen counts.
Then there is the emerging wearables market, as evidenced by the recently launched Samsung's Galaxy Gear smart watch, which has sensors that consumer can use for health monitoring. That's not to mention the possibilities presented by stretchable electronics or headwear computing, which can provide new opportunities for continuous glucose monitoring, ECG monitoring and patches for drug delivery.
The global mobile health market is estimated by Allied Market Research to be worth US$58.8billion by the end of 2020, growing at a CAGR of 32.3 percent between 2013 and 2020, with Asia Pacific accounting for more than 28 percent of the market by 2020.
This is pushing demand for top executive talent amongst life sciences and healthcare companies that are looking to embrace, integrate and master such technology trends.
The growing trend towards personalised medicine, for example, the linking of patient records with genetic data, makes information analysis one of the key factors in driving new technology-based services and capabilities and makes data collection and analysis abilities all the more critical.
While the ability to share data will make it more valuable, it is clear that life sciences and healthcare companies will need to bring on talent that knows how to leverage and manage large data sets for multiple purposes. They also need to grasp that big data requires a robust and scalable architecture that can integrate data management and analytics capabilities across the business.
Equally, with a large majority of consumers in Asia now using the internet to look for health advice, the leveraging of external social media channels will become a key sales, marketing and communications channel, enabling pharmaceutical companies to gain realtime customer feedback while feeding this information back towards the internal operations and R&D teams.
In addition to that, the CIOs and IT Directors in the pharmaceutical industry recognise the need to learn how to deal with new complex and fast changing technology risks to the business. Whilst the industry has traditionally been highly proprietary and protective when it comes to confidential information about its products and research, cyber-attacks have ratcheted up the risk factor and are now recognised as potentially business critical.
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