Beyond the pill! Wit trend watching the e-health vision 2025, we have no clue of development
In brief - As a trade association, it is important to get insights, to be relevant and stay up to date in our service offer to our 90 members Life Science Companies and a continuous dialogue with the Swedish Ministry of Industry. But also, in contacts with authorities, organizations, and decision makers, assisting and informing them on questions vital to the industry. The organization also represents Sweden in the ethical work of international trade organizations
This project: e-health vision 2025, is a way for us to map how the pharmaceutical industry is working with digitalization and the development of e-health, getting a picture of how their work is developing and where their interests and focus lie.
The material is an excellent source of information for all involved, it serves as inspiration for our Life Science member companies and encourages fruitful discussions. So, this project really fulfils many purposes for our organization. We did the first survey in 2018, continued in 2019 and at the moment, the survey for 2020 is ongoing.
LIF (Läkemedelsindustriföreningen) is the trade association for the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Sweden, currently having about 90 member and associate companies. LIF represents its members in contacts with authorities, organisations, and decision makers, assisting and informing them on questions vital to the industry. The organisation also represents Sweden in the ethical work of international trade organizations.
Karolina Antonov joined LIF in 2007 and describes her present role: My title is Head of Analysis, having primary responsibility for our policy work as well as personnel responsibility for the staff working with policy issues; around a dozen staff members with different areas of expertise.
She also manages various projects, mainly within market access, as well as with health data, which in turn, is closely connected to digitalization and the creation of an e-health index.
For the past three years, LIF has been co-operating with Opticom in a number of different projects and when asked to describe the latest, on-going project and why they decided to go ahead with it, Karolina explains: This project; e-health vision 2025, is a way for us to map how the pharmaceutical industry is working with digitalisation and the development of e-health, getting a picture of how their work is developing and where their interests and focus lie.
This notion coincided in time with the vision of e-hälsa 2025, which is a collaboration between the national government and the regions in Sweden. Karolina and her team saw the opportunity to join in and contribute and they have been active in designing questions for the survey concerning the follow-up of measures taken within the concept of e-health.
The results have been a good platform for dialogue and useful data has been presented to those working with this vision. Karolina describes the benefits: The material is an excellent source of information for all involved, it serves as inspiration for our member companies and encourages fruitful discussions. So this project really fulfils many purposes for our organization. We did the first survey in 2018, continued in 2019 and at the moment, the survey of 2020 is ongoing.
Carl Michael Bergman, CEO at Opticom, introduced the idea of doing continuous surveys, enabling an index to be established which can be followed over time. That started with the conduction of a mapping project, serving as a base for the index. That survey consisted of interviews with LIF members listing examples of services that their respective companies had worked with.
Karolina continues: We have been aiming for a “beyond the pill”- approach among our members, helping them to take the step from product supplier to service provider, which is our long-term goal. As always, knowledge makes it easier - "Without trend watching, no clue!” is a good illustration of their mindset here. Without the index, it would be difficult to pick up trends and developments and she emphasizes that it will only become ever more useful with time.
When asked about the main benefits of conducting these surveys and creating the index she says: The main advantage is that we have created a tool that helps us understanding where our member companies currently are on e-health and digitalization. Furthermore, it creates more opportunities for us to communicate with our members as well as to an external audience. We also get suggestions on how we as an organisation can improve in representing the industry in a good way as well as helping our member companies in dealing with the developments that are taking place right now.
As a trade association, it has been important to get these insights in order to be relevant and stay up to date in our service offer to our members, Karolina explains. We have spread the information to our members as well as to our staff here at our offices. This has also resulted in a continuous dialogue with the Swedish Ministry of Industry sub department of Life Science, they have really appreciated this information and see it as an excellent initiative that other businesses should take as well. Last autumn we organised a seminar for our members, where representatives of the e-vision group and one regional politician also took part, and we discussed the results and got very useful input.
She is aware that not all potential respondents participated in the survey but says that the results nevertheless have served as an inspiration to discuss the development of e-health more broadly. LIF will also follow-up on those who did not participate to find out why. The organisation has also presented the results to its Nordic counterparts and is aiming at involving them more in this initiative and adapting the survey to each country’s individual e-health vision.
Karolina continues: This is an emerging area and there are so many parts for the pharmaceutical industry to deal with. This index actually focuses on what is furthest away in time, i.e. the development of digital services which complement pharmaceutical products and the whole issue of how to introduce it into healthcare – But without this index it would indeed be harder for us and the industry to navigate in this fast moving development. You could call it a tool for understanding our member companies better and therethrough help us to represent the industry in the best possible way, as well as identifying what our organisation can do in concrete terms to facilitate this digital development for our members.
In conclusion, Karolina declares that she really appreciates the relaxed attitude that Opticom has: Your competitors make it more remarkable than it really is, Opticom’s job is hands-on and tangible, and it does not have to cost all that much to get good quality.