Friday, August 03, 2012

Real World Data and Health Outcomes

Today’s guest post is from Emma D’Arcy, Senior Healthcare Consultant at Complete Digital, on behalf of eyeforpharma, a Drug Channels sponsor.

In this guest post, Emma recaps the recent eyeforphama Real World Evidence webinar, which also included speakers from Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Amgen. More industry-led panels on this topic will be held at the Real World Data and Health Outcomes conference, November 28-29 in Boston, MA.

Please contact Theo Fellgett, VP North America at eyeforpharma ( or 201-234-4802) with any questions about the article or event.

What do ‘Young Turks’ and Patients have in common?
By Emma D’Arcy
Senior Healthcare Consultant at Complete Digital (A McCann Health company)

The figurative expression, ‘Young Turks’, was first used in the early 20th century to describe people who are full of ideas and impatient for change. It is used most frequently in a political context – where people seek to challenge traditional leadership.

What do ‘Young Turks’ and patients have in common in 2012? The answer is in their shared intent to make themselves heard, make their opinions known, shake-up the established Healthcare Hierarchies i.e. they are both literally im-patient. And they are using ‘Big Data’ as their lobbying weapon of choice. In the social media age, where the power of conversation is harnessed through online tools, trackers, networks and repositories, big data describes the pro-active assimilation of influential dialogue from the ‘real world’. Real World Patients are today’s ‘Young Turks’.

On June 22nd, I was part of a webinar about the explosion of Big Data from Real World Evidence. Joined by Rick Lones from BMS and Andy Roddam from Amgen, we attempted to start a discussion around what the impact of RWE means for pharma. Will this eclipse the randomised clinical trial? How does RWE affect drug reimbursement? What insights can be gained from using RWE to fine-tune clinical study design? We also evaluated the increasing voice of patient community sites to curtail the actual costs of the clinical trial programme by giving suggestions to Trial Designers about timing and participant support before and during a trial to enhance enrolment and adherence.

The maturity of social media to enrich assimilation of data and was believed to be crucial -- in that web 2.0 platforms have evolved from simply housing spontaneous, random discussions to become influential data-donorship repositories where ‘online’ real-world trials are starting to take place. Outside of the clinical trial setting, the panel reviewed several examples of the additional value of Real World Evidence to help with real-time condition management and support.

An inevitability when pharma experts gather is the need to furnish discussion with metrics. We were asked what evidence there is to confirm or deny that "big data" influences the payor, prescriber and the patient. And how difficult is it to create an infrastructure ready to gather and analyse ‘big data’? The ultimate questions were –“What is the future direction of the industry regarding real world data captured during the drug development process? What will we be doing in 5 years time?”

To answer these ‘Young Turks’ ... appropriately impatient and hungry for answers, we were only able to predict that where yesterday drugs broadcast their stories, today patients and physicians exchange stories about drugs in the real world!

So as the Real World becomes increasingly proficient at using and consuming the digital space for the pharmaceutical industry and the regulatory authorities, online assessment and listening to the Real World will become routine in the future.

To hear the webinar presentations, visit

About the Blogger

Emma D’Arcy is a Senior Healthcare Consultant at Complete Digital (A company of McCann Health). An early advocate of ability of social media to enhance health communication and management, Emma lobbies and helps the pharmaceutical industry to engage with patients and HCPs in the digital space.

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