The health care and life sciences market is accelerating – but not without a few necessary pitstops.
Machine learning, digital twins, generative AI, robots as doctors, medications with sensors, and surgery at the speed of light. It’s all driving the market.
Year after year, market researchers, analyst firms, and industry experts look at the market drivers reshaping the global industry across health care and life sciences. And every year, we land on topics – forecasts, predictions, even the occasional big, wild thought – telling us that the industry will radically change in the coming year. “This is going to be the year that everything changes,” we say.
In some industries, sure. In the highly regulated, rightfully protected spaces of health and life sciences, speed isn’t exactly the target. Rather, safer, more effective, more accessible care is the figurative speedometer we’repaying attention to. And using the technology, solutions, and tools of the future, we need to shift gears, double down on the market, and steer towards collectively moving into the next destination of health and life sciences.
It’s a journey; heading into 2024, we’ll see many pitstops along the way.
First stop: Convergence of the industry
For years, the health and life sciences industry has felt like a house divided with health care leaders and practitioners on one side of the space and pharma executives and drug developers on the other. Starting in 2020, we began to see the convergence of the industry take over, and that full-court press hasn’t slowed down. Leaders on both sides of the ecosystem are reaching across the double yellow lines and choosing to go all in on the opportunities in the seemingly untapped space of convergence.
For patients, consumers of care, and the future of medicine, this is a phenomenal win that puts us on the road toward more equitable, accessible, and affordable care options. However, several challenges are front and center for the organizations trying to do this work. The most notable – and the one that industry service providers are scrambling to solve – is the interoperability of technology in and across the industry.
Next stop: Supporting technology
Simply put, the current technology stack across health care could be more precise. It’s weak, and the entire IT architecture of health care needs to be ripped out, rebuilt, and improved.
Technology organizations must figure out how to provide services enabling this transition. We need interoperable analytical platforms to speak to each other and drive insights without risking data sharing or privacy concerns. We need auditability and traceability, and we need low-code and no-code interfaces. In 2024, we expect to see a huge focus on this for both health care and life sciences.
Beyond the “focus” in the space, though, we need investment. In 2024, the industry will need to invest in technology and services to enable faster, more efficient, and more productive insight generation. The tools in the environment are great but meaningless if they aren’t used.
Final stop: Consumers demand control
One of the biggest drivers behind convergence has been the idea that better ecosystem management yields better experiences for health care consumers. In fact, it’s been a key focus around the conversations centered on access, equity, and affordability.
In 2024 and beyond, we will see this focus shift as the consumer-centric behaviors and strategies that have existed in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail cross into health care and life sciences. Organizations will have to understand how to manage the shift in consumer expectations while still finding ways to maintain long-term profitability in a sea of policy and regulatory challenges.
Will we see the rise of retail health care jump into the driver’s seat? Will telehealth see stronger investment and seed funding? Will clinical research as a care option, with more tangible opportunities for decentralization, jump back into the headlines?
According to the current market drivers, 2024 will not be the year of radical health care or life sciences change. It will, however, be the year of radical rebuilding driven by industry convergence and patient demand. And when we start to unpack the key trends that are unfolding based on the market drivers, we’ll see shifts, ideas, and areas of focus that we haven’t evaluated thus far.
And that’s exciting. That’s growth. That’s the industry's future: machine learning, digital twins, generative AI, robots as doctors, medications with sensors and surgery at the speed of light.