The pandemic was the catalyst for increased technology investments in the pharma and life sciences space, and companies will continue to rely on technology in the year ahead. But, to look forward, we need to look back at the turbulent, but innovative year in pharmaceutical technology. Let’s dive into how data has previously been used, the problems faced, and how the industry can evolve.
Necessary Reflection to Look Forward
In today’s connected world, the most valuable resource for any company is data. Healthcare information has been digitized, consolidated, and analyzed to improve scientific research. While up until this point it has been disparate—and much of the analysis focused on health claims data—today, different digital health systems are churning out valuable patient data.
It has been a difficult year, but life sciences companies are better equipped to link data sets through encrypted protected health information (PHI) tokens, allowing organizations to follow the data across these systems without sacrificing patient privacy. This is a level of detail that simply wasn’t available before, but is coming to the forefront at the perfect time. This data trove has become revolutionary, especially within long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC), as this population data has never been available for analysis—leaving this sector untapped for research purposes.
The Challenges Faced
One of the biggest challenges we see in this industry is exchanging patient data and collaborative analytics. Research organizations struggle with the burden of accessing vast volumes of sensitive data from disparate legacy systems using manual techniques and at-risk insecure data transfer. These current time-consuming processes require both operational and capital overhead, delaying research projects by several months or years.
By centralizing and coordinating data access across a single shared data network, researchers and partners can eliminate the costly “lift and shift” to quickly and safely connect longitudinal data required in a convenient system. Today, the infrastructure cost to produce and store this data has declined, while security is strengthened with fewer operating parts and centralized procedures, but there is an opportunity for change. Given the added pressure the industry has faced due to COVID-19, the time is now for a technology upgrade.
The Opportunity to Unlock
The biggest opportunity for life science companies is in LTPAC patient access. Bringing “big pharma” to this population can accelerate research on diseases that affect them, further simplifying patient access to cutting-edge therapies. By facilitating access to these patients and their health data, organizations can conduct first of its kind research about patients living in these care settings. This cohort can now be included by reviewing specific exclusion criteria and remotely connecting clinical trials to long-term care residents, ultimately expediting the release of effective new therapies to improve the quality of life and care.
Looking Ahead: The Next Frontier of Pharma Technology
“Big tech” has entered the healthcare arena, and this trend is here to stay. The pandemic has driven pharma and life sciences companies to turn to technology to alleviate their challenges, a collaboration that will continue to pave the way and enhance future healthcare innovation, new medicines, and more. The ability to analyze real-time data, leverage insights from untapped populations, and apply predictive analytics to target treatment is the next level of care.