Are digital health companies aiming too low?

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David Shaywitz observes that most digital health companies, like most biopharma companies, are focused on incremental improvements, rather than revolutionary advances, and concludes by suggesting that we need both.

He expands on three themes:

* Reports of the demise of incrementalism have been greatly exaggerated, in the context of both biopharma and digital health

* Incrementalism isn’t (necessarily) lame; this often arrogant assumption frequently overlooks the true unmet needs experienced by real-world patients

* Both digital health and biopharma advocates must guard against “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” and at some level must acknowledge that tweaking the current system isn’t the same as radically improving it.

Commentary from Andrew Spong

This provoking article reminds us that the moments of rupture that history records as having been drivers of radical change can only ever have been events in a contiguous sequence of causes and effects.

There is no tipping point.

However, digital health companies are in the last instance restrained by an industry that may be content to experiment with social business, but which is reluctant to place its agenda at the centre of its enterprise.

Personally, I am reluctant to take the industry to task for this. As a whole, pharma’s reticence with regard to its nurtutng the conditions of possibility that would allow social business principles to evolve across its enterprise is in my opinion principally a function of the fact that the compelling narrative as to why they should do so has not been explained clearly enough to its leadership, nor conveyed effectively to the people who are empowered to make the decisions that need to be taken in order to make it happen.

Source: Forbes

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