2023 Digital Trends in Pharma: Is your team prepared?


In 2020, investment in healthcare technology grew by 47%, reaching $51 billion. The rapid pivot to telehealth and other digital solutions, necessitated by the pandemic, caught many organizations off guard.

Three years later, the industry is still grappling with these changes, trying to keep up with new trends while upskilling and training employees with mixed success. 

Innovation is critical for growth, but change can be hard. 

According to McKinsey, only about 30% of companies succeed with large scale digitization projects. That's not a great track record. We know that knowledge is your best path to success. That means you need a solid understanding of what digital healthcare trends will dominate 2023. 


7 Trends in Digital Marketing for 2023

There's a lot happening in the realm of health tech, digital marketing, and product manufacturing. We focused on seven trends that will impact the pharma sector in 2023.


1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML)

Globally, the market size for AI healthcare software is projected to grow from $4.68 billion in 2019 to over $354 billion by 2030. AI and ML are already being used to: 

  • Aid in drug discovery and development by identifying patients, translating trial data into different languages, and detecting fraud.
  • Reduce clinical trial times and shorten R&D cycles by analyzing large datasets to determine things like potential drug side effects. 
  • Detect, identify, and label data patterns across large amounts of data more quickly and accurately than humans.
  • Assist patients by using conversational AI when they reach out to health providers or insurers about health coverage, treatment options, and solutions. 
  • Predict the efficacy of potential medicines for different diseases by analyzing databases of molecular structures.

Given the almost limitless applications of AI and ML, you're probably already using it. The challenge for 2023 will be to identify what’s meaningful and what’s hype, so you can incorporate it effectively into your systems and processes.

2. Flexible production

Flexible production uses technology like robotics and 3D printing to accommodate the small volume production of drugs and medical devices. 

Examples include:

Complex and personalized drug products - Companies are using computer-aided design (CAD) coupled with 3D printing to  create customized drugs which can be individualized to each patient. The FDA approved the first 3D printed drug product in 2015. 

3D printed medical devices - these include surgical instrumentation, implants, and external prosthetics which are patient-specific (e.g: cranial plates and prosthetic hands.)

Unlike traditional manufacturing approaches that require high-volume production for cost efficiency, small-batch manufacturing lets you produce drugs in smaller quantities within a much shorter timeline.

Small batch production is especially attractive to pharma companies working on treatments for rare or orphan diseases with limited patient populations. The new tech makes it possible to create and customize treatments more quickly with fewer resource commitments. 

3. “The Cloud”

Cloud platforms and services allow you to move your digital infrastructure and data storage from on-premises legacy systems to servers accessed via the internet (e.g., “the cloud.”). This reduces IT costs, makes it much easier to scale, and makes data more accessible across departments and stakeholders. 

Cloud systems also improve CGMP compliance by providing a secure, traceable way to store and document data. Enormous amounts of sensitive data can now be stored in the cloud and kept secure through continuous monitoring, automated incident response detection, and a stronger identity and access environment.

Cloud computing touches every aspect of the digital technology ecosystem, from data storage to software development, to digital marketing and customer experience. These solutions will continue to gain traction in the pharma sector in 2023.

4. Digital training tools

One of the main obstacles the healthcare sector faces when pivoting to digital technologies is a lack of workforce skills

Digital tools like online learning portals, high-fidelity simulations to aid in digital training, and augmented and virtual reality provide learning experiences that more closely mirror real-world applications. 

They enable pharma industry workers to engage in realistic training scenarios remotely from their offices or homes. Simulation tools are also being employed by medical universities and colleges to train students across a variety of disciplines.

5. Data lifecycle management

The large, complex data sets generated by an endless number of devices and interactions is what's known as "big data." Big data can help pharma companies better understand and adapt to changing markets, but only if it’s stored, harnessed, and analyzed appropriately. 

That’s why data lifecycle management tools are an essential component to successful digitization and upskilling projects—and a big digital trend for 2023. 

They include technology like database management systems (DBMs), data warehouses, data lakes, and data integration/modeling. Big data, with the assistance of AI and ML, can shorten drug discovery cycles, streamline development, and help you better understand the market.

Learn how to leverage data at scale with our Big Data Intro Course which includes lessons on big data essentials and big data strategy.

6. Wearable and connected tech

Wearable technology (e.g, "wearables") like glucose, blood pressure, and heart rate monitors help patients - and their doctors - manage a variety of conditions.

Globally, the wearable device market was valued at $59 billion in 2020 and is projected to increase to $156 billion by 2024. 

Several trends are contributing to the adoption of wearable tech in the health sector including an aging global population and a wider acceptance of wearable tech by consumers. Names like Apple, FitBit, and Garmin are all helping grow this space by making wearables appealing to consumers.

Pharma companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim, are creating innovation groups to explore commercial applications for wearables. 

Products like connected inhalers, ingestible sensors, and digital therapeutics are being tested.  These monitoring devices, typically connected to mobile apps, treat chronic conditions like atrial fibrillation and diabetes. Some of them can also dispense medicine when needed.

7. Digital marketing innovations

Digital marketing, as a broad category, may seem like old news. But a confluence of changes make this one of the most exciting trends for 2023. 

For example, connected TV (or CTV), is becoming increasingly popular with consumers. There were over 225 million CTV viewers in the U.S. alone in 2022. 

CTV advertising allows for more precise targeting and better understanding of campaign performance than traditional television spots. According to DeepIntent, a healthcare demand side advertising platform, 82% of CTV ads are delivered to "clinically relevant" people.

Digital campaign measurement tools like customer experience platforms (CXPs) enable pharma companies to better plan, measure, and optimize digital campaigns. With the help of AI and ML, these tools automatically analyze and surface important campaign insights,  optimize campaign performance, and increase ROI.

Equip your team with the core skills they need for digital marketing success. Our Digital Marketing Strategy course contains lessons on digital marketing strategy essentials and best practices.


Digital healthcare trends are always changing

The most successful digitization initiatives are spearheaded by senior leadership who guide and champion change across an organization's entire ecosystem. 

The pace of digital change is overwhelming. Understanding the trends most likely to impact pharma and healthcare in 2023 helps you benchmark where you stand right now, so you can better plan your next project. 

It can also help you identify skill gaps with your existing employees, which means you'll be in a better position to support and mentor them when you're ready to introduce new tools, technology, and processes into your organization's technology ecosystem.

See our lessons on Product Campaigns for Pharma & Healthcare to help your teams feel better prepared to deliver your strategy and campaign goals.


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