Health Organizations Plan IT Investment in Patient-Centric Tech

Two-thirds of pharmaceutical companies in the Accenture survey cited improving patient outcomes as their company’s top objective for patient services.

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Over the next two years, most large pharmaceutical companies are planning to increase their investment in patient-centric capabilities, including remote patient monitoring and medication delivery, according to an Accenture survey of 200 pharmaceutical executives.

The survey also found that 85 percent of respondents said their organizations plan to ramp-up spending on patient-centric capabilities over the next two years.

The respondents are increasingly focused on patient-centric capabilities at a time when only about half (51 percent) of them rate their organization’s patient-centric capabilities as robust, and 46 percent cite little improvement in these capabilities over the last two years.

"We envision patient-service technologies evolving in several ways. To be sure, there will continue to be a mass of innovation in health care IT, which impacts patient services like cognitive computing, big data, virtual reality, and wearables and sensors," Tony Romito, managing director with Accenture Life Sciences, told eWEEK. "But market leaders will be those who figure out how to best enable a truly connected experience across these technologies, from clinical trial use to compassionate use through commercial use."

Romito explained that to do this effectively, an enterprise-grade patient platform needs to be developed that can form the backbone of the patient interactions, services and technologies, and be interoperable with new innovative technologies as they continue to evolve.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents cited improving patient outcomes as their company’s No. 1 objective for patient services.

While 62 percent of respondents identified themselves as the head or lead of patient services or the patient experience, 73 percent of respondents do not view a single function as having primary responsibility for patient services in their organization.

Romito also noted that mobile is increasingly playing a role, particularly through the Internet of Things, meaning connected devices.

"As an example, our research showed that 68 percent of the respondents expected to expand their service offerings in areas like remote patient monitoring," he said.

More than three-quarters (81 percent) of respondents said that their companies rely on health care professionals to make patients aware of their services, but less than one in five patients (19 percent) is familiar with these services.

Nine in 10 (91 percent) of the companies surveyed also expect to offer six or more types of patient services within the next two years, an increase from the 73 percent of companies that now offer six or more types of patient services.

The top areas for which companies plan to improve the focus include benefit coverage and access support, with respondents citing a 100 percent investment increase, health counselor services participation (a 77 percent increase), and adherence program management (a 73 percent increase).

Many executives (40 percent) said they were unable to accurately measure the impact of patient services on outcomes, which they consider their primary objective for offering them.