Read / Write Pharma Part 6/6: So Now What?
So far we've seen that our pharma and digital people want to work together. In the last post they looked at transport for inspiration and imagined how health could come together.
Looking at digital services, we see digital service APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) provide a basis for collaboration. Standardising and enabling access to your "stuff" (whether it's algorithms, billing, authentication) can allow it to go where it's needed.
While can build a "stack" with your technology at the base, you can make sure the whole thinkg adds up for every part of the business, with standardised commercials (such as the ones app stores provide), templated legals and brand usage guidelines. This can be a way to enable to lower the cliff face of business barriers to starting which Giles and Harriet saw, and to focus on creating services that work for users.
And we see this pattern emerging everywhere; it’s how Netflix gets into 500+ set top boxes. It’s how Facebook and Google let you log in to thousands of sites and apps. And it’s the way that financial services will look once the PSD2 directive is in force.
From nearly 20 years in digital one of the clearest things we’ve seen is that the arrival of digital in any industry means the end of control.
Smart companies which move from control to enablement at scale are the ones which take advantage of this change.
For years the music industry was in control mode. Only when Spotify aggregated and opened it up was music able to flow into cars, Sonos players, other apps and now be controlled by Alexa.
Once you build APIs in and out of your APIs, you will be able to enable your drug to be part of the rapidly networked and consumer driven environment which is what healthcare needs to become.
So?... and So What?
So this has been an unpolished tour of what read write pharma can look like. Let’s recap what we’ve seen in this MVP.
People like Ilsa are unwell. Sometimes they take their pills but they are also gravitating towards digital services.
Pharma has APIs - Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and delivers them to patients.
Digital services use a different kind of API - Application Programming Interfaces to push and pull services to where they are needed.
Both pharma and digital are thinking of putting the different types of APIs together.
At the same time both sides perceive a cliff face of delay cost and risk.
If we look outside of healthcare, other regulated and old school industries are finding new ways to work together and generating new business models.
We can use these to imagine what future health can look like.
Molecules and algorithms come from different worlds. It’s not easy for one to talk to the other.
And once pharma builds APIs to move from read only to read-write it can play a greater role in the rapidly evolving digital health ecosystem...
So Now What?
At the end of every Upstart project we insist on an action plan. This makes sure strategy moves from theory to action immediately. It’s then that teams begin to build learn and measure.
Our challenge to any of the Pharma Gileses reading is this:
Pick any aspect of your business from these five:
Service and technical APIs
Patient Engagement Content
Set yourself 30 days to deliver any of these aspects of your business in a standardised format to lower the barriers to collaboration with potential Harriets?
If you don't know how to get started, please get in touch.
Do it for glory, do it for commercial gain. But if patient-centricity actually means more than just a tick-box buzz word in your annual report, please do it to help the Unwell Ilses - and the millions of Ilses out there - who are in need of both molecules and algorithms to be less unwell.
Give your APIs some APIs.