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Embracing Digital Business Transformation to Accelerate Tailored Solutions for Patients

Picture of author Emmanuel Caeymaex
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Emmanuel Caeymaex, Patient Value Immunology & US Solutions

UCB’s ambition is to provide patients with unique outcomes, to ensure they have access to the solutions they need, and to deliver the best individual experience. In a world where digital technology is significantly changing the way patients experience their care, how healthcare professionals practice medicine, and how companies like UCB discover and develop solutions and bring them to patients, this ambition is both being challenged and encouraged. All of this has been accelerated by the pandemic.

Our approach to this digital business transformation essentially focuses on selectively applying advanced analytics and digital engagement tools, at scale, and on developing digital care solutions for multisided digital platform ecosystems to transform the patient experience. We also believe in partnering with pioneers at the forefront of technology and data-powered innovation for greater impact to help drive our healthcare system’s evolution further. Together, we are accelerating research and development cycles and digitalizing our operations  to meet our customers where they are while helping patients live their best lives, whatever that means for them.

In drug discovery, we are using computational design and artificial intelligence to more efficiently identify compounds that have a higher chance of leading to effective therapies. We’re working hard to increase the impact of a treatment through a deeper understanding of the biological causes of disease, systematically provide better research data-driven insights to enable the faster discovery of therapeutic molecules, and improve a patient’s overall journey.

As part of that work, we recently entered a new multi-year, strategic collaboration with Microsoft, to combine their Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and cutting-edge platforms to discover and develop new medicines in a more efficient and innovative way.

In the development of new medicines, we digitalize our clinical study protocols and have provided decentralized clinical trials, which have resulted in the continuity of patient care through remote visits even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaining real-time access to patient feedback enrolled in our clinical trials is important to us, and we often use patient experience surveys to help us better understand the patient experience. For one of our key assets, the results were outstanding, with a NPS score of 53, far exceeding the industry benchmark of 22 specific to the indication. This tells us we are on the right track with enhancing the patient’s overall experience as they embark on this important part of their health care journey.

Go-to-Market and Digital Care Transformation
In the delivery of medicines and solutions to the market, we’ve expanded our use and mix of distinctive  channels and of predictive analytics to generate a better, more tailored, experience for our customers.  This has become even more important during the pandemic as we understand changing physician needs. We have been reimagining frontline ways of working in several markets, with eager adoption of new tools by our colleagues in the field. This promises to result in  more fulfilling work, a leading capability, and an increasingly effective go-to-market model.

We also recently announced the launch of Nile AI, Inc., a new independent company created to improve care for people living with epilepsy, their caregivers, and healthcare providers. Nile is developing an epilepsy care management platform that serves as a digital extension of the healthcare provider and provides patients with peace of mind between consultations, with the ultimate goal of shortening the path to optimal care.

Partnering for Impact
As we continue to transform the way care is delivered, we believe that partnering can make a greater impact. Our collaboration with MyHealthTeams, an organization that creates social networks for people living with chronic conditions, has enabled us to contribute to their well-being and access to information  and to gain insights into their experience of learning, treating and and coping with their disease. For instance, the MySpondylitisTeam, which focuses on spondyloarthritis, is an active patient community started in early 2018 with more than 42,000 members.

Through our work with Ali Health in China, a digital healthcare provider, we’re also exploring an innovative service model for the intelligent management of chronic diseases like epilepsy. As the first step of the strategic agreement, UCB has created an "Epilepsy Care on Alipay" account on the Alipay app to serve epilepsy patients and provide cloud-based diagnosis, treatment, and medication delivery to improve the overall patient experience.

Partnering has been central to building and scaling target digital capabilities and delivering promising results rapidly, to further support this journey of change. In many cases, we decided to pair our knowledge of a patient population with the acumen and capabilities of digital health players.

The rapid integration of digital innovation into all aspects of our business is a testament to how quickly we can adapt to the needs of patients and the ever-changing environment. Much of this stems from the size of UCB – large enough to make an impact, but small enough to remain agile. This agility provides greater opportunities for our employees to engage in work that is more creative, strategic, and transversal, and which better delivers on our goal of developing personalized experiences for people living with severe diseases.

To achieve these ambitious goals, UCB is advancing how we work and embracing our key organizational enablers of success: by unleashing the power of data; by rapidly gaining digital capabilities; and most importantly, evolving our culture and how our people approach work, by eliminating barriers to customer-centricity, being bold in our adaptability with transversal collaboration and experimentation. By empowering individuals with decision-making and an entrepreneurial mindset that flourishes within an agreed frame , we can amplify the power of scientific innovation through digital transformation, creating sustainable value, and ensuring that patients can live the lives they choose now and in the future.

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