In our digitalized world, multiple people in various locations are accessing the same information from different devices at the same time. Mobile applications have become the driving force behind digital transformation, and they are quickly penetrating every aspect of our lives and society. Companies that can adapt to this new environment quickly will reap the benefits.
Personalized treatment is a hot topic in the life sciences industry. In terms of mobile applications, this can, for instance, involve an application that provides patients with information about the compatibility of a drug and contrast it against the patient’s known tolerance of certain pharmaceuticals. Any selection by a user activates countless data streams that must be consolidated, updated, and made accessible from mobile devices at any time – a gigantic task requiring cooperation across multiple functions.
Development of mobile applications for diagnosis and treatment
Companies need the following characteristics to facilitate diagnosis and treatment via mobile applications for patients and health care professionals:
- Agility: Mobile applications are becoming more complex at a breakneck pace. To keep up, companies must continuously adapt their business and IT processes and systems. Agile approaches should not be limited to IT alone.
- Collaborating with partners: Technology companies such as cloud services and consultants offer more than just creative ideas for mobile applications – they also have the necessary expertise for their development. Collaborating with the right partners is imperative for success.
- Holistic planning: Besides technical feasibility, prototype development also requires a strategy for approval and compliance with regulations. Data protection and data integrity regulations are particularly stringent in regards to health care data. The feasibility of a promising idea must always be evaluated holistically to ensure a smooth transition to its actual development and market launch.
New players in the life sciences market
The “global players” in the information market are increasingly penetrating the life sciences industry with innovative mobile applications. Apple, for instance, is cooperating closely with the FDA to develop an application that aims to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease in full compliance with all regulations governing its utilization. It is now the responsibility of the life sciences industry to apply its extensive expertise rather than leaving these markets to the “newcomers”.
The establishment of a dedicated authority could promote the development of mobile applications. This would require the development of suitable governance and funding models and the provision of architectures for mobile applications, e.g. for centralized management of heterogeneous data pools. Once these organizational and technical frameworks are in place, we can channel ideas and prioritize mobile development. For such an endeavor to succeed and yield innovative mobile applications, we must combine in-house knowledge with the expertise of agile consultancy and technology companies.
■ Dr. André Geiser, Thomas Ritzengruber-Marlovits