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Even though the pandemic was a major disruptor in the healthcare space, there is no denying that it has also positively influenced the achievements, digitalisation and advancements we have seen in the past year.

How can companies make the patient journey as seamless as possible? What is one mistake companies make in their patient-centric efforts?

Throughout my career, I have grown to understand that the patient journey varies greatly from one person to another. Our responsibility is to listen and learn from each patients’ experience. We should use our scientific knowledge and the technological advancements to identify the unmet patient needs and then solve them for innovative solutions. Our mission at UCB is to better serve patients through the application of digital technologies, and to relieve them from the burden they have as a result of living with chronic and severe diseases.

Too often the current healthcare system focuses on quantity versus quality by leaning towards serving the most patients instead of each individual patient. At UCB, our ultimate goal is to one day offer everyone living with all diseases a treatment solution uniquely fitted to them and their needs. To transform this goal into a reality, we turn to digital tools and platforms and expertise through external partnerships to help make sense of the complexity of the patient journey. Our hope is that these tools can help provide a path to a more outcomes-based system, which would be an entirely new paradigm for the healthcare industry.


How to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare with the help of new technologies?

We are dedicated to applying technological innovations and sophisticated data purposefully to unlock new insights across the healthcare ecosystem. This will enable us to develop and deliver meaningful solutions that patients value. As we strive to know and understand the patient experience more deeply, it is technology and data that enables us to connect the dots to make a greater impact even faster. The digital capabilities we are building grant us the ability to correlate data to deliver the most actionable insights, which guide us toward uncovering unmet patient needs. This allows for our teams to capitalise on urgent opportunities and increase the overall impact of a treatment through a deeper understanding of the biological causes of disease. This understanding provides us better research data-driven insights to enable the faster discovery of therapeutic molecules and improving a patient’s overall journey and wellbeing. It is no surprise that the healthcare landscape is constantly presented with new challenges, but we plan to face them head-on to create better experiences, insights, and offer more accessible and personalised care to those battling with critical diseases.


What areas of healthcare are in need of a digital disruption?

The pandemic was a major disruptor in the healthcare space – most likely the biggest of our lifetime. As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, we can reflect on the achievements and lessons learned as a result of it. There have been great achievements in medical, technological and scientific advancements within the past year. As we continue to move forward, we can now see the industry we once knew is gone, replaced by collaboration and innovation. I think it is fair to say a great deal of these achievements were reflective of the digital transformation mindset. This is what we mean at UCB when we speak of breaking down the silos to work horizontally together. This proves we have to turn to digital solutions in order to best meet our goals and objectives to better the patient experience at a global level.

When we also look at how far we have come in such a short span of time with medical research and development, such as new vaccines and innovative technological heath practices like artificial intelligence and telehealth, there is no question that digital practices were a crucial enabler which ultimately led to such an immediate response. I feel proud to see how the last year has led to increased global collaborations between research groups, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare agencies and patients to successfully develop and deliver innovative treatments and solutions. These accelerated efforts would not have been possible without the digital disruption to the world of healthcare we previously knew.

Join Erik at a new addition to our pharma events portfolio, the Digital Therapeutics and Pharma Summit in September 2021 where he will deliver his presentation on Digital Care Transformation: How Can We Serve Patients Living with Immunological and Neurological Diseases?

Erik JANSSEN, VP Digital Transformation Immunology at UCB is a healthcare executive with a passion for digital health, corporate innovation, making a difference by creating healthcare partnerships and most importantly transforming on how care is delivered to patients with chronic diseases in rheumatology and dermatology. Erik leads an international Digital Care Transformation team at UCB Pharma (Brussels) whose focus is on investigating digital health and medtech solutions with potential to make a meaningful difference to the lives of people living with severe diseases by improving outcomes and creating better experiences in a cost-effective way. He is also a managing director of the Bluehealth Innovation Fund and holds board positions in digital health and medtech companies. In his 25-year-long career, Erik has worked in several therapeutic areas such as cardiology, neurology, oncology and immunology, leading diverse local and global teams in network environments. His core competencies are delivering business results, developing corporate strategies, driving innovation & digital transformation and managing venture funding. Erik holds a Masters’ in Science in chemistry from the Catholic University of Leuven and an Executive Certificate in Innovation Management & Leadership from GSB Stanford Business School. Erik is passionate about cycling, mountain biking, a little bit of gardening and spending time with his family.

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