Physicians today are living through a crash course in managing complexity. Even before COVID-19 began stretching the healthcare system of many countries past the breaking point, their ever-expanding remits are straining time and resources at a moment when they need them most to maximize care. Ever-growing demands from digital workflows are swirling with ever-shrinking opportunities to practice the art of medicine with patients. In many ways, physicians have never needed strong partnerships with life science innovators more than they do today. The challenge is finding that high-impact way to engage patients, physicians, and population-based decision-makers (PBDMs) against contemporary challenges.

Challenge 1: COVID-19 is THE Catalyst for Change 

For decades, pressures on time, talent and tender have slowly driven change for patients, physicians, and population-based decision makers. These have resulted in relatively slow uptake in innovative approaches like telehealth and other digital tools. But we believe the looming (and already present) pressure of this global pandemic will result in massive and lasting changes in the way our healthcare professionals work, from virtual meetings to streamlined systems that automate everything.

Challenge 2: EHR Exhaustion

A recent Stanford study showed 71% of physicians agree that EHRs greatly contribute to physician burnout. — not to mention, today’s doctors are spending 2 hours in front of their screen for every hour they get in front of patients. And the final straw? EHRs opened the door to system leaders establishing most doctors’ automated treatment decisions — robbing many physicians of what they feel is the right to practice the art of medicine. These platforms must evolve to become a more efficient and effective tool that makes physicians’ lives easier in the years to come.

Challenge 3: Faster Approvals, but Longer Real-World Evidence Tails

From the 21st Century Cures Act driving efficiency through single-arm trials to China’s accelerated approval pathways, the distance from lab to life is shrinking steadily, but providers and PBDMs are demanding more robust RWE to add color and context to today’s clinical programs.

Challenge 4: Tomorrow’s Key Healthcare Players are Changing the Game

As former healthcare outsiders like Amazon, Apple and Alphabet, Inc. double down on disrupting the life sciences industry, brands must rethink their strategy and competitive set, but here’s the good news: they gain license to act differently than more regressive peers.

Why This Matters — 

While the entire world seems both in flux and on hold, getting healthcare as right as possible as quickly as possible is now the most important role anyone in the life sciences industry can play. To that end, here are 3 ways our team is actively making a difference:

  • Building virtual collaboration experiences to maintain momentum for both pharma leaders and healthcare workers
  • Partnering with clinical leaders to rethink study design to add color and context to today’s clinical programs that providers and PBDMs are demanding
  • Tracking Transformational Trends across the healthcare landscape and beyond to help all of us understand the changes unfolding in real time to drive more informed decision-making for marketers, field and clinical professionals


In this time of uncertainty, our Insights and Innovation team at Syneos Health is more committed than ever to helping make a positive difference in healthcare. To that end, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team if any of the above ideas could help your organization drive change for the better.

About the Author:

Drew Beck brings more than a decade of broad healthcare experience to GSW in his role as the Director of Innovation. He has enjoyed working for big healthcare names including Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline in Global Marketing and Pharmaceutical Sales roles, but his start came from hands-on work in patient care in Emergency Medicine. This foundation has given him a deep understanding of both patients and healthcare professionals. In his current role, he combines all he has learned from this background with insights into current market trends to help clients drive the future of their brands.