Digital fusion: how smart collaborations will drive the healthcare revolution

Digital fusion: how smart collaborations will drive the healthcare revolution

Convergence of digital technology and healthcare – digital health – has become a key driver of change for healthcare systems globally, with the mass adoption of digital technologies set to revolutionise healthcare and patient wellbeing. Payors and healthcare and life science companies must learn from the mistakes made in other sectors – and find ways to become the disruptors, not the disrupted.  The international law firm Simmons & Simmons has conducted a global survey to gain a better understanding of how digital health will shape the future of collaborations and investments in healthcare. In Q4 2018, the firm surveyed 441 decision makers and investors across the UK, the rest of Western Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Respondents worked for technology, media and telecom companies, healthcare and life sciences  companies and payors, or were active investors in the sector.

The power of collaborations to respond to the digital health imperative
64% of respondents said digital health was a strategic priority, with 63% planning to invest more in the future. The survey indicates collaborations (such as consortiums and corporate joint ventures) are seen as the most important way of unlocking digital health opportunities in the next 12 months (with 83% of respondents regarding them as important), followed by minority investments (79%), M&A transactions (78%), attracting staff with digital expertise (70%) and internal capability building.  In Western Europe, business leaders are ready to explore a range of options to embrace opportunities created by digital health: 83 % of respondents say they will increase investment in multi-party deals over the next three years,  This is especially true in Netherlands (94% of respondents), in France (91%) and in Germany (84%). 74% of respondents are also seeking to increase their cross-border collaborations over the next three years. «While important and significant insights can be gained from consolidation of intersectoral and cross-border partnerships, new challenges and new risks will emerge. Organisations will have to adapt their strategies and define clear projects when facing international compliance matrix and critical issues of interculturality.  Those that will successfully meet these challenges will be the big winners of e-health » said Alexandre Regniault, partner at Simmons&Simmons and head of Healthcare and Life Sciences.

Seizing digital opportunities
Collaborations are seen as vital to seizing digital health opportunities but, as the report suggests, only 34% of collaborations achieve their goals. The firm’s research shows that organisations not only struggle to find the right partners to work with, but also struggle to forge successful relationships. According to the survey, only 11% of collaboration and investment proposals that cross organisations’ desks ever enter detailed due diligence, and only 4% are executed. The  report identifies three main barriers: determining the targeted technologies (24%), obtaining necessary quality of information about targeted companies (22%), establishing that the counterparty/target has good title to IP and/or whether necessary third-party IP is available to license.

To access the full report, please click here.