Road ahead paved with innovation, opportunities: Syneos Health

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(John M Lund Photography Inc/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(John M Lund Photography Inc/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Syneos Health Innovation development Patient centricity patient engagement Clinical trial COVID-19

A forward-looking report from company experts includes a breakdown of the top trends to watch for in pharmaceutical development and in healthcare overall.

Industry watchers from Syneos Health have shared their predictions for the coming year in 2022 Health Trends: Insights for Industry Change Agents. The report covers a range of areas, including ways to create and increase value for various stakeholders, placing an emphasis on the human element at all levels, and better harnessing technology insights to accelerate the delivery of novel therapies.

Leigh Householder, managing director of omnichannel strategy with Syneos Health, said COVID-19 has left a long-lasting mark on the field.

If there’s one through-line in this year’s report, it’s this: we are an industry working toward sustainable acceleration​,” Householder said. “The pandemic forced fast-moving innovation, prompting biopharma organizations around the world to validate real-time insights and learnings that are now fueling industry change and value creation​.”

The report also touches upon how despite the incredible disruptions and challenges (like burnout and talent retention) emerging in recent months, new product development models are holding up. Further, factors like the drive to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are having an effect on how industry professionals are working to improve access and build organizations.

“The human toll from the pace and scale of disruption demands a re-examination of every aspect of product development​,” commented Alistair Macdonald, CEO of Syneos Health. “Simplifying the complex for patients, care providers, scientists, customers, and every employee is essential. These trends are driving much-needed change including exploring new models for enhancing stakeholder value, accelerating digital transformation, and advancing DE&I to propel innovation.​”

The top trends mentioned in the report focus on three themes: value creation, human centricity, and industry change. First, the report predicts that the industry will see increased value creation (which involves working to make sure data and related insights reach all across the product lifecycle to innovate and generate greater value for all stakeholders), covering the following:

  1. Appropriate acceleration in clinical development: according to the report, acceleration in the coming months will be driven by innovative study design and execution, real-world data (RWD) engines, flexible decentralized engagement, and dynamic contracting.
  2. Engagement optimization loop: emerging commercial models, the report holds, will consist of two primary dimensions: human and digital, and players will use omnichannel engagement to both elevate human interactions and deliver insights on how and when to act most efficiently.
  3. Patient-powered design: increasing integration of the patient voice will narrow the long-standing gap between patients and industry professionals, according to the Syneos report.

Aspects of human centricity (which is prioritizing personal relationships and enhancing with tech-enabled insights), will include:

  1. Changing customer interface: the report advises looking for important disruptions in how important stakeholders engage with each other; these include a newly hybrid field, changing roles for clinical research associates (CRAs), new paths to recruitment, and simplification of the complex.
  2. Engaging burned-out healthcare professionals: while people working in this field were already exhausted before the pandemic, the effects of COVID-19 have complicated the situation even more, according to Syneos, changing the way they need to be engaged with. Burned-Out Healthcare Professional
  3. High talent expectations: after a period of unprecedented hiring, many organizations now are short-staffed, changing expectations about employees, and expectations placed on them.
  4. Personal, tailored, and possible: Syneos reports in a recent company study, industry leaders rate their use of modern customer engagement and omnichannel infrastructure at 6/10—better than before the pandemic; company leaders expect this trend to continue in 2022.

Also, in the area of industry change, the report authors expect the field to step up to deal with social policy public health directly, leading by example for other areas of innovation.

  1. Urgency for representation: increasing DE&I within the industry will become an even more critical priority, Syneos anticipates.
  2. Pharma industry reputation: the brightening of the pharmaceutical industry’s reputation (thanks to its rapid COVID-19 response) and waning trust in government to deliver solutions likely will drive a need to maintain and increase the reputation, according to the report.
  3. Dynamic market: Syneos holds that, after years of being responsive and reactive, biopharma will take the lead; this could include leveraging new levels of funding, coming up with novel resourcing models and partners, new global centers of excellence, and more.

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