Medium to long-term: Closer to the patients
In view of the long periods of time in which development processes in the pharmaceutical industry take place, it is difficult to identify possible ad hoc measures here with which digitisation could help to overcome the current crisis. However, in order to be better prepared for pandemics in the future, pharmaceutical companies could move closer to patients and consumers. This is where the combination of biosensor technology and artificial intelligence offers a lot of potential - right up to the detection of diseases before the first noticeable symptoms appear.
For the pharmaceutical industry, digital technologies offer a wide range of possibilities here. It would be conceivable, for example, to develop apps and devices that facilitate participation in clinical studies. The pharmaceutical industry could also play a formative role in expanding the relationship between doctors and patients using digital technologies, just as it does in supporting doctors using artificial intelligence.
An important point here, however, is that the data in question is particularly worthy of protection. In Germany, for example, pharmaceutical companies are currently not even allowed to collect data directly from end consumers. However, interesting potential solutions are already emerging, such as the Startup Ocean Protocol or Federated Learning. The goal of both approaches is to provide data exclusively, securely and reliably for the training of algorithms, without the possibility to read them in any other form. Both approaches could decisively advance the digitalisation of the healthcare ecosystem - and give the pharmaceutical industry a central role in this process.