How COVID-19 has exposed the need to improve digital inclusion

By Krissie Ferris, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions

Inclusion

In February 2020, our report Realising digital-first primary care highlighted the limited progress in achieving the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambition for all patients to have access to online primary care services by 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed this irreversibly. In a matter of weeks, healthcare teams moved most of their non-emergency, face-to-face consultations online in an effort to maintain access while keeping themselves and their patients safe. What these past nine months have also shown is the impact of the digital divide on those who are unable to access or use online services and digital technologies. The groups disproportionately affected by the divide are vulnerable people, low-income groups, the elderly and the more marginalised communities in our society. Importantly, those with the greatest health needs are also the most at risk of being disadvantaged by digital exclusion.1 In a world where healthcare is fast becoming ‘digital by default’, this blog explores how to reduce the digital divide and the risk of exacerbating health inequalities.

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Posted on 23/10/2020 | 0 Comments

Word Mental Health Day: how digital technologies can help meet rising demand for mental health services

By Krissie Ferris, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions

Faces

Last Saturday, the 10th of October, was the WHO’s annual World Mental Health Day (WMHD) whose aim is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilise efforts in support of mental health.1 This year’s theme is ‘good mental health for all’, which seems fitting since all of us need to be aware of our own mental health and wellbeing, especially this year with all of us being affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, for those experiencing challenges to their mental health, awareness is unlikely to be enough, and tackling poor mental health will generally require some form of mental health intervention. Throughout the pandemic, however, primary care mental health services (like many other healthcare services) have had to adopt new ways of working to provide access to care in the face of lockdowns and social distancing measures. This has driven a wider adoption of technology–enabled ways of working, and changed fundamentally the face of primary care mental health support. This blog reflects on what has changed, and the opportunities for digital mental health care moving forwards.

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Posted on 16/10/2020 | 0 Comments

Diversity and inclusion in clinical trials – an imperative, especially in times of COVID-19

By Maria João Cruz, PhD, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions

Covid-purple

Clinical trials provide the necessary evidence to prove safety and efficacy of new treatments and medical products. Given that the responses to a specific medication may differ among population subgroups depending on factors such as age, sex, genetic profile and ethnicity, clinical trials need to reflect the demographic diversity of the population that a pharma product is intended to serve.1,2 Last August the Centre published a blog on the importance of inclusion and diversity in clinical trials and why it should be a research priority. At the time, we highlighted the initiatives being launched by regulatory bodies to improve diversity in clinical research but noted that, while there have been some improvements, pharma companies were still struggling to enrol participants from diverse demographic groups, particularly women, racial and ethnic minorities, and the elderly.3

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Posted on 09/10/2020 | 0 Comments

The Indian pharmaceutical industry: A bright future awaits?

By Pratik Avhad, Senior Analyst, Insight

Indian-pharma

Over the past months, our first blog in our series on the Indian pharma industry explored how the industry became the ‘pharmacy of the world’. Our second blog ‘the time of transition’ explored some of the new initiatives that the industry has embarked on to kick-start growth and tackle the stagnation and growth volatility that it has experienced over the past decade. However, some of these initiatives have been undermined by the health challenges and economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this third blog of the series, I explore what the likely future looks like for this critically important industry.

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Posted on 01/10/2020 | 0 Comments

Wake me up when September ends: my reflections on the search for a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, in honour of World Alzheimer’s Month

By Dr Francesca Properzi, PhD. Research Manager, Centre for Health Solutions

Deloitte-uk-intelligent-drug-discovery

Since 2012, September has been celebrated as World Alzheimer’s Month, and this year’s theme is 'Let's talk about dementia'. This is clearly much needed, especially as one person is diagnosed with dementia every three seconds.1 As a neuroscientist, I spent more than 10 years leading a research lab dedicated to finding new approaches for diagnosing and treating neurodegenerative diseases at the Italian Institute of Health in Rome. I also had first-hand experience of the disease, as I had originally accepted that position and left my job in London, to take care of my father, who was himself fighting dementia. Those years have shaped me greatly both personally and professionally and, as September coincides with my last month at the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, I am delighted to use this blog to provide my reflections on the challenges presented by Alzheimer’s disease and to consider what more needs to be done to expedite progress in identifying treatments and ultimately a cure.

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Posted on 25/09/2020 | 0 Comments

World Patient Safety Day: Speak up for health worker safety

By Samrina Bhatti, MRPharmS, PGDipGPP, Manager, and Karen Taylor, Director, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions

Covid-orange

There is a universally accepted mantra in healthcare that no one should be harmed as a result of the treatment and care they receive. In May 2019, the seventy-second World Health Assembly adopted a resolution, ‘Global action on patient safety’ and endorsed the establishment of World Patient Safety Day (WPSD), to be observed annually on 17 September. The origin of WPSD is based on the fundamental principle of medicine – ‘First, do no harm’. Today, the global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the huge challenges facing health workers, including the heightened risks to their physical and mental health, and associated risk of patient harm. The WHO has therefore selected as the theme for the second WPSD, ‘Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety, under the slogan ‘Safe health workers, Safe patients’; and a call to action, ‘Speak up for health worker safety!’.1 This week’s blog celebrates WPSD by exploring how the safety of health workers, is a priority for patient safety.

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Posted on 18/09/2020 | 0 Comments

Digital transformation: Shaping the future of European healthcare

By Dr Francesca Properzi, PhD, Research Manager, and Krissie Ferris, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions

Purple-brain

This week we launched our report Digital transformation: Shaping the future of European healthcare, our third report in our Shaping the future of health series, focused on the impact of digitalisation on the healthcare sector. While our 2019 report focused on the state of digitalisation in the UK healthcare system, this report extends our research across Europe with the aim of understanding the challenges faced by different countries, as well as the learning opportunities for both the public and private sector to improve ways of working, access to services and deliver a more effective patient and clinician experience.

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Posted on 11/09/2020 | 0 Comments

Boosting COVID-19 vaccination rates for the hesitant

By Sarah Thomas, managing director, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, Deloitte Services LP, and Greg Szwartz, managing director, Life Sciences data science practice lead, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Covid

This week we are sharing a blog written by our US colleagues, Sarah Thomas, the managing director of Deloitte’s US Center for Health Solutions, and Greg Szwartz, who leads the life sciences data science practice for Deloitte Consulting LLP. The focus of their blog is on ‘vaccine hesitancy’ and the finding from surveys that show that 25 to 50 per cent of Americans have said they would be hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccination due to concerns about safety and the unprecedented speed of development. In the UK, a survey by Ipsos MORI and King’s College London found that 53 per cent of respondents said they would certainly or very likely get a vaccine against COVID-19, and 16 per cent that they are unlikely to, or definitely will not, get the vaccine.1 We believe that the strategies and tactics identified in the US blog to help improve understanding of behaviours and increase uptake of inoculations are relevant to the UK and indeed to most countries.

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Posted on 04/09/2020 | 0 Comments

COVID-19 vaccines: a closer look at the front runners

By Maria João Cruz, PhD, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions

Covid-yellow

In early May, we published a blog about the race for a COVID-19 vaccine.1 At the time, biotech and biopharma companies together with research organisations and academia had commenced the development of some 110 potential vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Notable features of the race include the unprecedented acceleration in the pace of R&D and the significant scale of collaboration and cooperation between stakeholders across multiple geographies.2 By the end of August, there are 203 vaccine candidates under development. Six have already reached Phase III or II/III clinical trials, the last stage of clinical development before vaccines can obtain regulatory approval (see Figure 1).3,4 This was achieved in only few months, rather than the years it would normally take.5 Importantly, the COVID-19 vaccine developers are using a variety of technologies and techniques, ranging from the tried and tested to completely novel approaches. This blog explores the different approaches being used for obtaining an approved and licenced vaccine.

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Posted on 28/08/2020 | 0 Comments

COVID-19 impact: rethinking how to plan for and run clinical trials

By Maria João Cruz, PhD, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions, and Alex Grisman, Director, Deloitte

Corona-purple

Clinical trials are vital to find out whether a new medicine (or medical device) is safe, effective and better than existing treatments. Essentially, clinical trials serve to accumulate sufficient, robust evidence to assure regulators of the patient benefits from a new medical intervention. The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed medical infrastructures and had a significant disruptive effect on the current clinical trial landscape. A number of our previous blogs have examined the response of biopharma companies in pivoting their research activities to try and develop COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.1,2 This week we take a look at the challenges COVID-19 is presenting to the operation of other clinical trials, including site and participant selection recruitment and retention, and the strategies that biopharma is adopting to mitigate these challenges.

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Posted on 07/08/2020 | 0 Comments

Why I am inspired by the life sciences sector

By Mike DeLone, US life sciences leader, Deloitte LLP

Blog

I am particularly pleased this week to share with you a blog by Mike DeLone, the national sector leader for Deloitte’s US Life Sciences practice. Mike’s clear articulation of why he is feeling inspired by what he is seeing in the life sciences sector, resonated strongly with me, and I hope will resonate with those reading this blog.

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Posted on 31/07/2020 | 0 Comments