Shaping the future of digital – what pharma can learn from WebSummit 2019

Last month, the Anthill team participated in one of the most influential technology conferences in the world: WebSummit 2019. Held in Lisbon, WebSummit gathered founders and CEOs of the world’s biggest technology companies, together with fast-growing startups, innovators and influencers. More than 70,000 people attended from more than 160 countries to hear 1,200 speakers explore the role of technology in society now and in the future.

Many of these talks addressed themes that are directly relevant to the life sciences. Here’s our pick of the key trends from the event that are impacting the healthcare sector.

AI is here to stay and it's crucial for customer success

For the last couple of years, artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic. Some people state that AI might be a great helper, others warn about the risk for people being replaced and lose their jobs. This discussion kept going during WebSummit covering: the AI role in the digital transformation, customer experience and company productivity.

A recurring theme was that the digital transformation and AI specifically are confusing for many companies cause, they don’t know where to start. The best advice is to find a trusted partner who will help you not only to create a strategy but implement and adopt it.

The important questions that every company should ask themselves before starting any digital transformation initiative should be: “What is the challenge that we can solve with this technology?” and “How will our customers benefit?”

Don't lose sight of the customer: Keep the conversation going

We are all living in a connected reality, with IoT, telemedicine, social media, mobile apps, smart watches, and digital assistants. Customers expect to get information as quickly as possible through their preferred channels. Brands need to keep up with ever-rising customer expectations and invest in technologies that build a direct conversation with customers, tools to personalise communication and to provide easy access to the content that people are looking for.

That’s where chatbots come to play. There are various types of chatbots in healthcare that help to keep the conversation going:

  • For patients, it might be a first aid chatbot that helps to priorities the case in the emergency room.
  • For HCPs the chatbots could be a 24/7 digital assistant providing information regarding the case, disease or treatment.
  • For caregivers, the chatbot becomes a guide through the main steps of patients’ treatment and recovery, answers questions, helps to book appointments with the doctor and orders medicine.

Today interaction with the customers it's not only about brand experience, but it is also about providing superior customer support and building long-term relationships – areas in which chatbots can be a great help.

Mobile apps to improve patients' lives

A great example of customer centricity in action are mobile apps, developed by pharma to improve patients’ lives by switching from reactive to proactive care.

This year Pfizer has expanded the availability of a free “Living with” app, designed to help patients and caregivers manage life with cancer. This enables people to track mood and pain, record a patient’s data from the wearables, share personalised graphs and reports with the healthcare team, discover helpful resources, patients’ stories, and build a circle of support.  

Likewise, LEO Innovation Lab has developed an “Imagine” app that helps patients with psoriasis and eczema to stay on top of the skin condition, track the effectiveness of the treatment and get a clearer view of their skin and symptoms as they change. Patients who use the app can also help others with skin conditions – each time they upload a photo, they make a positive contribution to research, supporting the global effort to build a better disease treatment model.

Enhancing CX: The value of customer experience

Companies that do the ‘bare minimum’ in customer experience, and don’t take into consideration how their customers feel when they are using their product or service, put themselves at risk of being left behind.

Lessons from WebSummit include:

  • Build empathy with customers and your business. Getting out of the labs, out of the offices, spending time with customers and learning from them is key.
  • Think about this relationship in the long term. Don’t concentrate on the short-term goals, like the product launch, or communication initiative – think how these relations will look in 3 or 5 years.
  • Leverage the core competency of your global business. Try a different lens to understand what the real customers’ problems are today. Put yourself in customer shoes and ask: “Is there a different way we can deliver value?”

WebSummit is future focused but many of the technologies that it highlights are available now – and actively being used in the life sciences. Talk to us about what’s possible.

If you would like to know more about efficient digital transformation strategy, the ways to create superior customer experience or would like to see chatbots in action, please Contact us.


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