"Thoughts on the Future of E-Healthcare"
A Keynote Presentation by Jeffrey Drezner, MD, PhD
Executive Vice President and Director
The Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence and Research Group's (PBIRG)
39th Annual General Meeting:
"Forces Shaping the Competitive Landscape: Exploring New Approaches for an Evolving Industry"
Monday, May 22, 2000
The Registry Resort
Good morning. I'd like to thank the folks at PBIRG for inviting me here today to discuss the future of e-healthcare. It is truly a privilege to be able to share my thoughts with you on how the healthcare industry is evolving as it continues its inexorable march onto the Internet.
Yet, as I got to thinking about this rather daunting topic...and the speed with which things happen in this industry, I started to worry. After all, when it comes to the Web and technology and dot-coms, what could I say that wouldn't be obsolete a week later?
In the words of baseball great Yogi Berra: "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."
But I suppose if anyone knows that already, it's all of you. That's because it's your job as market researchers and business developers to make decisions, not only about what's happening now, but about what will happen: How will you best meet your objectives and reach your customers? Where will you find them? What will they be doing and how they will they be doing it?
In fact, one of the most powerful men of the last century, Henry Luce, who built a publishing empire on Fortune, Time and Life magazines, perhaps said it best: "Business, more than any other occupation, is a continual dealing with the future....a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight."
Not easy. But, very exciting nonetheless, especially these days. Not only are you on the cutting edge of a whole new way of doing business in the world of health and medicine....but you can help play an active role in its development.
The decisions you make in the pharmaceutical industry about how to develop and market your products will help determine which e-healthcare ventures succeed and which fail.
I'm standing here this morning with one goal in mind:
To whet your appetite about what's happening now in cutting edge e-healthcare, and to get you even more excited about where it's going.
Of course, right now I'd love to trade in this PowerPoint presentation for a good old-fashioned crystal ball, to see just where we're headed in five or ten years. But, as far as I know, PBIRG wasn't offering crystal balls to their speakers.
So the best we can do is to look at today's hottest industry trends. I'll try to show you where the pharmaceutical industry fits in--and how can you best use the healthcare Internet to reach your markets.
I'll also warn you of some of the speed bumps and potholes you're likely to encounter. Like any rapidly developing industry, e-healthcare is fraught with risks and challenges. So hang on tight--as you know, it's quite a ride.
Before we look forward, I'd like for moment to look back to where we were just a short time ago, so you can see just how fast things are changing.
The future is uncertain. We can expect more mergers, perhaps a few more IPOs and, like Koop has had to do, restructuring of deals. So it's more important than ever to look at past history, who is running the company and who has the cash to survive.
Whew! We've covered a lot of ground this morning.
We've discussed the opportunities that await you on the "4C" continuum of Internet healthcare--in particular, the changing nature of doctor/patient online communication and the increasingly Internet-based and wireless ways that doctors are practicing medicine and doing research.
And we've looked at some of the challenges ahead with regard to online medical privacy and e-healthcare industry volatility.
So, if I may, I'd like to leave you with some parting thoughts.
These days, every pharmaceutical company is developing a corporate strategy for the Internet. Despite its rapid growth, the Web is still relatively inexpensive when compared to other media buys, especially TV. Yet it delivers targeted messages directly to health care professionals and consumers. And it provides you with data you can't get anywhere else.
Keep in mind that perhaps about 15 to 20 percent of your marketing budget to doctors and other health professionals likely will be on the Internet. And this will almost certainly increase as time goes on. On the consumer side, the percentage is more variable, but certainly a lot less.....although direct-to-consumer spending will increase rapidly.
That said, let's turn to the big picture.
Perhaps nothing stands as a bellwether event for this industry as when Dr. George Lundberg last year leaped from editor of the esteemed print Journal of the American Medical Association to editor of the paperless Internet company, Medscape. He brought with him 18 years of brand equity from JAMA, which he built to its world-class status.
In fact, The Wall Street Journal noted that "the Internet is rocking the once-staid world of medical journals" and cited Lundberg as "an instigator of the trend."
And so I urge all of you to be the "Dr. Lundbergs" of your profession.
I'm not sure how many of you have heard of Alan Kay, formerly of Apple Computer. It was his ideas that helped spawn the creation of the personal computer and the Mac and the Windows operating systems. So he's someone who knows a bit about technology. He once said: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
And so I leave you with a challenge. Don't simply ride the coattails of the e-healthcare revolution. Get ahead of the curve. The future is yours to invent!