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the future

Looking into the Crystal Ball for Life Science Organizations in 2016

Oh, the crystal ball – behold its magical ability to unveil next week’s Powerball numbers, next month’s oil prices, and who our kids are driving around with next Friday night. The crystal ball likely has changed with the times; today’s it’s probably constructed with optical fibers, infused with nanoparticles, and powered by photovoltaics. Even so, the crystal ball remains unreliable. Thankfully, our “best guesses” continue to be refined through analytics and the power of data. If we apply the recent history of life science organizations in the U.S. to 2016 manufacturing, R&D, distribution and financial models, we can establish a baseline for what to expect in 2016.

In Deloitte’s 2016 Life Sciences Industry Outlook, there are some key past indicators that provide stress – and opportunity – to a Life Science organization. First, a patient-centric focus will continue to drive innovation and transparency. Technology in the hands of the consumer also will continue to drive faster, more accurate outcomes by doctors and researchers. We live in a “me-generation” society, and we demand results for our dollars. The technologies available only to doctors and nurses will now be mainstream, real-time diagnosis machines, based on reliable analytic information.

Deloitte’s second point concerns cost containment.  Healthcare costs are not only rising for the consumer/patient, but also for hospitals and doctors. Whether due to compliance, regulation, tight labor markets or insurance, costs get passed on to consumers. However, utilizing analytics, expanding M&A activity domestically and internationally, and focusing on high-value/low-competition diagnostics may help to reduce cost pressures. Furthermore, technology should help to take the guesswork out of healthcare costs for consumers.  Fastest to market may not be as attractive as a reliable reimbursement system driven by safe, efficient payment systems.

Finally, Deloitte focuses on value. Not only is this a “bang for your buck” observation, but it represents an increase in efficiency, and therefore value, throughout the healthcare experience. This takes the form of payment methods, connectivity to healthcare providers, a value-based compensation approach for doctors and real-time applications to improve effectiveness. Although access to public funding in the form of federal or state grants has decreased significantly, R&D focused on patient value, as well as organizational/business value, should be a funding opportunity.  Say hello to “open innovation”.

I believe the common thread throughout Deloitte’s 2016 Life Sciences Industry Outlook, coupled and supported by other forecasts, discussions with researchers, and application to other industries, is the focus on the patient/consumer. This thread underscores the need for the healthcare industry (including life science organizations) to address personal care by utilizing technology, with full transparency.  How your life science organization reacts to these trends will define your success. Good luck!

I would welcome the opportunity to hear your thoughts on what lies ahead for the life science industry in 2016 and your company’s challenges. Please reach out to us at 440-449-6800 or

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