Monday, September 12, 2016

Deborah Waterhouse Speaks Patient Care and the Growth of Digital Medicine

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Deborah Waterhouse, the SVP of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)'s Business Unit, has spent over two decades working across many cultures, with the pharmaceutical industries, with a track record of developing clear strategies, strong alignment and excellent execution to drive shareholder and customer value. She is not only passionate about working in healthcare, but is motivated every day by the opportunity to serve customers and make a difference to patients.

Thankfully, we had the opportunity of speaking with Waterhouse, who'll also be a keynote at our annual Pharmaceutical Strategy Conference (PSA), to share her expert opinion on  how technology has impacted the new direction of biopharma, garnering long-term success and what she is excited to learn more about at this year's conference.

  1. What are the opportunities and challenges facing the relatively new field of digital medicine, and how is the biopharmaceutical industry tapping into the potential for improved treatment and monitoring?

Technology is opening incredible new doors, not only in terms of drug discovery and treatment, but also how we are able to engage and support patients in their day-to-day lives. This is particularly exciting for the field of Primary Care. The possibility of helping a diabetes or asthma patient monitor symptoms in real-time – or, to identify a patient who may be predisposed to risk for those conditions, and monitor warning signs long before symptoms fully present – could change the landscape of disease management and, hopefully, ease the burden for patients, their caregivers, and the health system as a whole.

Specific to respiratory, GSK aims to be at the forefront of the pharma digital revolution. Wearable or remote biosensors and smart mobile health platforms provide the opportunity to get highly detailed and accurate monitoring of a patient’s physiology and behavior. This information may improve our understanding of asthma and COPD, inhaler usage and a patient’s response to medication. We continue to investigate the incorporation of sensor technology with our inhaled medicine portfolio to improve the care options available to those with asthma and COPD.

2. What is the secret to long-term success in your opinion? Do you have any best practices of success stories you’d like to share?

When it comes to leadership – of a small team or large organization – success requires being both boldly committed and thoughtfully malleable.

On the business side, there is both an art and a discipline to leading and growing a thriving business. I find that success requires three key things : listening to my customers and my team, working hard with my leaders to make sure I’ve got the right people in place, and creating a clear vision that everyone can understand and align behind – and all of this needs to be underpinned by the values of the organization.

In terms of personal and professional development, success means different things to different people. Both inside and outside GSK, I try to help women be successful and reach their potential. I think people often assume that successful women have no life outside of work. Much of the coaching I do is with women with families and they aren’t asking how to be more successful in business; rather, they are asking how to find work-life balance and how to manage the guilt they feel from committing themselves to their career.  I’m married to a physician, I have two teenaged kids, and I know  it is not possible to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife and the perfect leader all of the time.”   Life is about compromise and finding the right balance and either becoming comfortable with the trade-offs or choosing another path.

3. What do you hope to learn more about / who do you want to hear from at the PSA conference?

I believe our industry is at a palpable crossroads when it comes to the way we engage with patients.  Providing benefit to the patient, by being a trusted partner in the delivery of healthcare, is the very “license to operate” for any pharmaceutical company – but what are we all doing to make changes and demonstrate commitment to “patient centricity,” beyond discussing it as the latest buzzword?  I am eager to hear from my thoughtful and committed colleagues at other companies about how we make changes within our own organizations, and throughout the industry as a whole, to bring this mission of patient care and patient service to life.


Deborah Waterhouse will be speaking on our PSA panel for COMMERCIAL FOCUS KEYNOTE: DOING WELL, DOING GOOD, DOING RIGHT BY THE PATIENT.

Please join us at our annual Pharmaceutical Strategy Conference (PSA), held at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York City, September 28 -30th.

For a $100 discount, please use discount code: PSA100.


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