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November 9, 2022

How can Start-ups commercialize their digitally enabled solutions: Key insight for Pharma, Medtech and Start-ups from PWC's digital health leader survey

Digital health solutions promise to deliver value across the healthcare lifecycle: From AI assisted drug development to empowering patients to manage their treatments. The majority of the current Tech4Eva cohort is leveraging digital technologies for their solutions to drive outcomes for patients for example in the form of AI-assisted decision making, connected devices or software enabled care.  

However, with the current economic outlook, investors’ interest in digital health seems to be cooling of. This is reflected in smaller funding rounds, a series of layoffs of digital heath start-ups and an underperformance of public digital health companies compared to the broader healthcare sector. But, as we explain in our latest thought leadership, long-term pessimism would be misplaced. The digitalization wave that came with the Covid19 pandemic brought fundamental changes to technology and mindset. We see this in four main developments:

-      Patients are changing their expectation towards more seamless, digitally enabled care delivery models

-      Healthcare providers are adapting new models such as “care anywhere” and try to leverage digital technology to ease the burden on their strained workforce

-      Pharma and Medtech companies are augmenting their products and start to include digital technologies into clinical trials of their conventional therapies

-      Digital health companies are collecting a growing body of evidence that demonstrates real outcomes for patients.

However, one outcome of the current market conditions will likely be a flight for quality: solutions need to show that they provide real value. If they do, the need for financing might lead to more partnering opportunities between start-ups and pharma and Medtech companies. This can be a good thing for patients as stakeholders work together to bring solutions to market.

But the challenge across all stakeholders will remain: How can companies develop solutions that drive sustained outcomes? To find out more, we surveyed MedTech, pharma and start-ups leaders about their digital health initiatives. In our research we explored the key elements of a successful digital health strategy, as well as the challenges leaders face.

At the Tech4Eva Basel Roadshow we presented our key highlights:

- The survey shows a clear trend towards regulated solutions, with 65% of companies saying that they will focus on developing these in the future. Successful and timely launch will require to involve regulatory functions at an early stage and be strategic in when to collect user feedback.

- Companies are increasingly building their business models around reimbursement, with 82% believing this will be the most promising commercial opportunity for digital health over the next 5-10 years. Although we see that the regulatory frameworks for reimbursement of digital solutions are being established, we recommend to not focus only on this business model. The markets will remain fragmented and in some cases it might be better to license out technology to a 3rd party or to target hospital budget.

- Data is essential for driving future innovation, but the research reveals that only 41% of companies say that they are using data from their digital solutions to a significant extent today. Companies need to harness the potential value of the data through an approach that creates trust, manages risks and embeds data-driven decision making across the organization. Here it is interesting to note that start-ups seem to be ahead of Pharma and Medtech companies: 78% of start-ups are already leveraging data from their solutions to significant extend. If start-ups can demonstrate that they create value.

If you want to find out more about these our insights for developing and commercializing digital health solutions you can download the full report on our PwC page.


Email: Jonathan.sander@pwc.ch

About PwC

PwC is one of the leading global consulting firm with over 300’00 people committed globally to serve our clients and solve their most important challenges. In our Swiss digital medicine teams we work with Pharma and MedTech clients to ensure that we best leverage digital health solutions to drive outcomes for patients. At PwC we are also dedicated to help startups with the support they need from Tax Advisory, Management Compensation, Finance and Business Plans, Audit, Digital Assurance, Strategy Consulting, IPO and much more. We are ready to go the extra mile with the Startups and support them through their journey.

About the Authors

Mylene Jeandupeux is leading the digital medicine and engagement team as a director in the commercial strategy practice in Switzerland. She has over eight years of experience in consulting, where she led major projects in customer-centric digital transformation, commercial strategy and business model definitions. Mylene has been involved in defining digital health strategies for MedTech and Pharma which includes the design and development of digital health solutions, the ecosystem fit, as well as the launch readiness process.

Mylene holds a Master's in Business Management from the University of St.Gallen.

Jonathan Sander is a manager at PwC with over 7 years of combined industry and consulting experience in medical devices and pharma. He has worked across the value chain with a particular interest in 3D printing and digital health. Jonathan is passionate about technology that drives outcomes for patients and healthcare stakeholders.He supports pharma and Medtech companies to define sustainable solutions, engage with their customers and help them with their go-to-market approach.

Jonathan has an engineering PhD from ETH Zürich and an MBA from the University of St.Gallen

LinkedIn: @PWCSwitzerland