The Future of Learning for Life Sciences

The Future of Learning for Life Sciences

In the course of my work, I got to read about the future trends in the global life sciences for 2018 and their impact on different stakeholders. While there’s no shortage of literature to discuss the opportunities and threats that could possibly emerge from those trends, I don’t seem to find a post that talks about suitable learning interventions to support organizations along these 5 trends:

  1. Sick Care to Health Care
  2. Uninformed Patients, Payers & Providers to Super Consumers
  3. Analogue to Digital
  4. Blockbuster Drugs to Precision Medicine
  5. Disconnected Healthcare to Connected Healthcare

The first trend (Sick care to Healthcare) focuses on prevention and addressing affordability. The second one (Uninformed Patients, Payers & Providers to Super Consumers) puts patients, payers, and providers in the driver seat in shaping the life sciences landscape. The last 3 trends seem to have driven healthcare sectors to go into digital transformation over the recent years.

Brief Description of the 3 Trends That Seem to Drive Digital Transformation

Analogue to Digital

In recent years, more and more digital technologies (such as Robotic Process Automation and Blockchain) were deployed to drive new customer experiences, process automation and efficiency in the healthcare sector. In America, the Johns Hopkins Hospital has a NASA-inspired command center to enhance hospital operations. Staffed by about 24 hospital workers from various departments, they work together in a single room, equipped with real-time and predictive information and empowered to take action to prevent or resolve bottlenecks, reduce patient wait time, coordinate services and reduce risk.

Blockbuster Drugs to Precision Medicine

Precision medicine takes into account individual differences in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. This approach is enabled by mining data from direct and indirect sources to provide a more holistic view of an individual patient. Unreasonable cost of trial-and-error medicine makes tailored medicine imperative for targeted therapies. Scientific and technological advances in the genomics field mean that cost and time are no longer a barrier to precision medicine.

Disconnected Healthcare to Connected Healthcare

Connected healthcare connects patients with their healthcare providers, healthcare providers with other healthcare providers, and the automated systems that make these connections happen. With a monitoring app, a hypertensive patient can transmit daily or weekly blood pressure readings to enable the doctor to detect a problem and intervene earlier.

The Future of Learning for Life Sciences

As more healthcare companies undergo a digital transformation, the future of capability building should put more emphasis on cultivating the employees’ level of digital readiness. So how can we help healthcare professionals to be digital-ready before embarking on a digital transformation? Most HR and L&D professionals can immediately cite “learning gamification”, “microlearning”, “town-halls”, “roadshows (or vendor demos)” and “workshops” as possible L&D interventions. However, organizations may want to explore these 2 unconventional means to develop their people.

Intervention 1: Hackathon

A hackathon is an event, typically lasting several hours or days, in which a group of students and young professionals with different backgrounds come together, form teams around a problem or an idea, and collaboratively build a unique solution from scratch.

Some top leading pharmaceutical companies have been running their hackathons to crowdsource solutions for a few years. However, it’s only in the recent years that a bank used hackathon as its enabler for their cultural transformation, which became so successful that the bank eventually became the “Best Digital Bank in the World”.

Intervention 2: Reverse Mentoring

Unlike traditional mentoring where a seasoned executive shows younger and often less experienced colleagues the business ropes, in reverse mentoring, senior workers learn from their younger colleagues to gain a different perspective and valuable insight into new social media and technology trends and how they can be used effectively. Here’s an article of how a pharmaceutical company leveraged on reverse mentoring to help Baby Boomers (or even Gen X employees) to adapt to digital transformation.

Although I discussed the future of learning from the life science sector perspective, both hackathon and reverse mentoring can also be deployed to develop learners from other industries. The future of learning is about departing from traditional learning mindsets and rethinking the “way” (not the “type”) we learn in the new corporate learning landscape called “Digital Learning”.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn and SGLearner.

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