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April 1, 2022

Building a digital health ecosystem - The key takeaways from our global gathering in Basel

Commentary
Philip Connolly

Building a digital health ecosystem - The key takeaways from our global gathering in Basel 

What does it take to build and sustain a digital health ecosystem? How can we create successful business models? 

As guests of Roche, 65 leaders of the HealthXL community joined us at their auditorium on Grenzacherstrasse in Basel to take a deep dive into these questions. 

It proved a meaty topic. The 2020 merger of Teladoc and Livongo showed us that virtual care platform play has arrived. While the industry recognizes the importance of shifting to a more patient-centric approach, questions remain about creating scalable and sustainable commercialization models.

We began the day with a series of presentations by experts in the field to provoke some thoughts, before moving into roundtable discussions as leaders and innovators from a variety of backgrounds shared their views.

We asked each roundtable to send us some of their key takeaways, which have been consolidated and edited for clarity.   

Leave no one behind - mapping an ecosystem

We must understand the value proposition of the ecosystem for all stakeholders deeply and test our hypothesis before drawing conclusions.

As the digital health ecosystem grows, we need to understand components that already exist, what the vision for the ecosystem is, and where every stakeholder fits into that vision. Investors could be potential curators of an ecosystem. 

There will never be one full platform solution that covers everything in healthcare, but there will be several different structures. These structures could then communicate with a central piece.

The entire patient journey, in any given indication, must be accounted for, alongside the responsible parties for each stage and reimbursement models for every stakeholder. 

Often, there is no need to build platforms outright, but rather to allow them to grow in both functionality and breadth over time based on patient needs and the market, such as with the Livongo and Teledoc merger.

Big problems can’t be solved in isolation - the importance of partnerships 

To build more comprehensive platforms, there is still a question about how to connect the ecosystem in a mutually beneficial way, rather than creating point-solutions-as-a-service business models. Business models need to derive from point solutions and evolve.

Compliance requirements prevent pharma from developing platforms in the middle, so someone else must drive the platform development. 

Big tech may have a role to play here, as they are already adept at complex technology solutions. However, there may be some trust issues to get past to bring them visibly into overall health solutions.

There is power in building on network effects and leveraging support from existing players in starting small in selected indications and building out contiguously – think about how Google drove vans one street at a time to execute a plan that would eventually map out entire cities.

It’s all about the user - being patient-centric

User experience must be central to all of our conversations - how do you increase your customer lifetime value? 

Platforms must be driven by improving patient outcomes, and the reason to build a platform is to be able to scale these outcomes.

The trick is to be trusted by patients, curate the best solutions to surround them with a continuum of care. 

To do this, we must facilitate a two-way interface with patients to properly involve them, deliver true personalization and collect evidence of effective treatments. This evidence can then be used to convince payors and change pathways.

The devil is in the detail - building a standard 

As a growing, and relatively young, ecosystem, there is a need for support data and other standardization to set standards and new ways of working. 

Our ecosystem should learn from other industries how they define standards and manage integration.

At the moment, outcomes tend to focus on illness versus wellness - what is the pharmacoeconomic argument to drive the standardization of outcomes based on health?

Want to join the conversation? Check out our website for upcoming meetings and events. 

Interested in more expert insights and takeaways? Become a member of our HealthXL Community for access to polls and summaries from all of our meetings.

We can provide an introduction on your behalf so that you can contact them directly with any questions/queries on this topic. Simply click on the link below to request an introduction.

We can provide an introduction on your behalf so that you can contact them directly with any questions/queries on this topic. Simply click on the link below to request an introduction.

Request an Introduction

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