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Why precision medicine demands precision engagement

The speed of innovation brings its own challenges, says cloud computing expert

DNA

As we move into 2019, one of the key trends in the life sciences industry is the rise of precision medicine. The speed and range of scientific breakthroughs in this area is leading to ground-breaking new treatments, particularly in oncology and rare diseases. The precision medicine market is expected to reach $85.5 billion in 2025, growing at a CAGR of 9.9%, according to Grand View Research. More importantly, this trend gives hope to many patients who have not responded to standard treatment options.

Focusing on oncology, Evaluate Research estimates that more than 85% of the market is now focused on targeted therapies. The treatable patient population is also expanding, growing three-fold every three years. Together these rises in innovation and patient need will drive worldwide sales of all oncology products to over $230 billion per year by 2024.

However, the speed of innovation and the consequent explosion of scientific data brings its own challenges. For example, the number of new oncology therapeutics in clinical development in the United States alone has risen by over one- third (34%) since 2015. Real-world data from patient records is also growing rapidly. Treatment teams need to remain current on both the latest advances and real-world patient outcomes, while also contributing their own experiences with these advances to the wider ecosystem. Life sciences companies must ensure that they are supporting treatment teams and scientific experts in staying up to date on the growing treatment landscape, while also getting information from these teams to inform ongoing scientific progress.

This trend in the market is making obsolete the traditional methods used to build and maintain relationships in the oncology sector. The medical science liaison (MSL), charged with informing and educating experts, will need to evolve in the style, method and content of communication. MSLs will now need to reach oncology experts within a growing, global audience faster, and with more in-depth, real-time information that best fits experts’ individual needs. Every interaction needs to be targeted specifically at the healthcare professional’s needs and interests in order to be valuable – generic information is no longer sufficient. As medical experts are inundated with information – it is estimated that the average physician needs to read for 29 hours per day to keep up to date with new medical research – MSLs will become a valuable partner for aligning scientific information with clinical practice.

Delivering precision information

Advancements in cloud-based technologies are offering solutions to the delivery of scientific communications in the age of precision medicine by allowing life sciences companies, treatment teams and experts to work much more collaboratively. In particular, the cloud can offer faster, global, bidirectional tools that target information more precisely to the needs, interests and preferences of particular experts. This means the life sciences industry can partner with oncology care teams in a much deeper and more valuable way, which will result in better patient care and outcomes as the distance between the bench and the clinic shortens. The cloud helps deliver the promise of precision medicine in three key ways:

1. Enabling bidirectional information sharing

In an era when the volume of information and speed of innovation are accelerating, the relationship between life sciences companies and oncology care teams needs to become more efficient. Companies need to rapidly provide care teams with easy-to-consume, real-time scientific data set into the context of the current treatment landscape. The continued advancement of treatment innovation requires that medical experts share their real-world experiences.

Achieving this at scale has previously been difficult in a global environment. How can companies ensure they are reaching the right experts with the right information at the right times? How can providers ensure that they are delivering the right treatment to the right patients at the right times? It can feel akin to looking for a needle in a haystack – for both sides.

The cloud can help by providing companies with the ability to deliver targeted information, track data consumption and evolve communications accordingly. At the same time, providers have the architecture to communicate gaps in knowledge, real-world patient experiences and other information from the field that can fuel ongoing treatment advances. The cloud also enables an ongoing dialogue through communication tools that can work alongside traditional face-to-face interactions. In an age when more companies are trying to access increasingly busy providers, companies can offer virtual and remote methods of engagement that fit into the busy schedules and environments of scientific experts and care teams. This overcomes modern barriers and increases engagement across the sector.

Finally, the cloud enables medical affairs teams to extend education and engagement beyond just the individual oncologist to address new, team- based care approaches. Diagnostic and research specialists, nurses, PAs, nutritionists and other caregivers can receive targeted information that fits their needs and interests. This means the broader care team receives vital insight into treatments and how each member of the team can contribute to driving better patient outcomes. At the same time, these teams can provide valuable information via the cloud, such as signals of clinical sub- populations who might respond better to treatment modalities and sequences and defining better protocols for patient compliance and retention.

2. Faster, more dynamic data analysis

We live in the era of big data, and detailed analysis of this ever-expanding volume of information is vital for accelerating precision medicine. New data sets are growing in size and importance, in addition to the Cancer Genome Atlas, which catalogues the genetic mutations responsible for cancer and has generated multidimensional maps of genomic changes in more than 30 cancer types. This growth will require ongoing innovation in analytics and insight sharing, as well as access to larger, more complete and more accurate data sets for targeting and benchmarking.

As techniques such as artificial intelligence move into the mainstream, this process will become ever more automated and rapid. Technology will be able to quickly analyse and compare trial results, scientific literature and real-world patient records, allowing teams to spot potential new treatments and provide faster alignment with specific cancer types and individual patient populations.

3. Delivering deeper insight

Being able to successfully deliver precision medicine relies not only on access to the right data, but also on speed to carry this insight into the clinic in a timely way. Waiting for lengthy trials to be conducted and the results to be published can hold up research efforts. New technologies will make it simpler to access, extract and use aggregated patient data in new ways in order to develop and align targeted treatments. This real-world information can help life sciences organisations understand the benefits and challenges of a treatment outside the controlled clinical trial environment and, together with scientific data, evolve treatments for the clinical environment more effectively and efficiently.

Overall, improved bidirectional dialogue via the cloud enables better patient outcomes by pushing vital, high-value information to clinicians while pulling crucial, real-world insight back from key experts in the field. Through implementation of a shared engagement approach across company teams and geographies, the content of expert interactions, as well as any new insight from this, can also be optimised internally with all relevant stakeholders.

Through this technology-supported approach, life sciences companies can instantly follow up with the trial or real-world data that experts need, via the channels they request. Should new biomarkers or data on new combination treatments or sequencing become available, medical science liaisons can react quickly to put that information into context. Efficient communication drives deeper insight and directly impacts innovation and patient outcomes.

Collaboration via the cloud

Precision medicine, particularly in areas such as oncology, is transforming the treatment landscape and ensuring the length and quality of patient lives. However, the volume and complexity of available data makes it challenging for treatment teams and life sciences companies to access and share information. Overcoming information overload, building bidirectional communication channels and driving mutually valuable relationships are key to sharing the insight that will ensure better patient outcomes. Embracing new, cloud-based technologies underpins this new ecosystem, providing a platform for innovation that transforms engagement, deepens insight and ensures realisation of precision medicine’s full potential.

By Malia Lewin, Director, Global Oncology Strategy, Veeva Systems

24th January 2019

By Malia Lewin, Director, Global Oncology Strategy, Veeva Systems

24th January 2019

From: Marketing

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