I began my education studying engineering at the School of Arts and Crafts, which is the oldest technical school in France and was created by Napoleon Bonaparte. After graduation, I was hired by IBM Scientific Computing, but as I began to speak at scientific events and became heavily involved in innovation, I came to the conclusion I should start my own company. In 1969, I created Cegedim as a company whose focus was on services in documentary research and clinical pharmacology. My objective was to provide a wide range of amenities around the premise of providing better services at lower costs.
I also realized that the idea of shared services could apply to the management of databases of physicians, based on the concept—new at the time—of collecting information directly from physicians rather than waiting on it from patients. As the viability of the physician database grew and spread throughout the industry, companies quickly made the decision to rely on it as a decision tool. As a result, the OneKey concept was born.In the mid 1980s, France introduced the first Internet-like service, Minitel, which was a revolutionary precursor to today's Web. The development of Minitel—founded on a strong government commitment to basic technology—helped make many of the services offered by Cegedim possible. It was during the 1990s that the pharmaceutical market exploded and the major companies of the industry emerged. It was the common belief that information systems would prove essential as a tool to enable the healthcare community to improve the management of individualized medical care. This led to the internationalization of Cegedim's CRM activities and investments in medical software.
The decade was also the era of big inventions in the medical device market. I partnered with my colleague, Dr. George Boussignac, to advance innovation, patenting numerous cardiovascular products.
The current popularity of electronic health records has enhanced Cegedim's CRM capabilities in medical software. However, EHR represents only a minute portion of this larger trend toward the spread of information as a decision tool. EHR will create demand for additional services related to data verification, communication with patients, safety controls, and tailored treatment.
These developments also provided Cegedim with the opportunity to collect longitudinal data on patients. Many parties use our software to promote pharmacovigilance and measure the quality of drug treatment. These contributions have bolstered industry's overall reputation.
It is a business imperative today to be global in orientation. In 2007, with the acquisition of the US company, Dendrite, Cegedim expanded its capabilities to support clients around the world, especially in high-growth emerging economies.
It's been fascinating to observe the evolution of regulatory compliance requirements and how life sciences companies are dealing with them—locally, regionally, and globally. For example, global economic challenges and the expansion of generics have spawned a reduction in pharmaceutical promotional activities. I see this as a positive sign for the future of Cegedim. These new requirements are related to the complexity of new products on the market, such as in the field of oncology; the new models for marketing these products challenge the old structures.
Likewise, demands for greater transparency and disclosure reporting between the industry, its stakeholders, and government agencies has forced companies to adopt new procedures, many of which produce collateral benefits in the form of increased availability of information that can be utilized throughout the enterprise.
What's next? Cegedim is the latest wave in Web technology—the integration of the Web with ever more accessible mobile tools. This will be the next achievement in the history of Cegedim.