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Data Integration: Reducing Costs of Drug Development

Data Integration Reduces Costs of Drug Development Blog

Data Integration: Reducing Costs of Drug Development

Written by David Linthicum exclusively for Nelson Hilliard

Digital health data integration is the collection of data from a variety of sources, including digital health, mobile apps, wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT), and more. Once the data is collected, it enables pharma companies to best analyze and understand the data. In theory, digital health data integration allows pharma to collect data from patients in several different ways between their visits to a clinical site, and this has the affect of lowering the cost of drug development.  The end effect is to speed needed drugs to market. 

What does this mean?  Say you’re testing an experimental blood pressure drug.  You can certainly go into the clinic each month and get your blood pressure taken.  However, much more data can be analyzed if you’re measuring your blood pressure with a Bluetooth enabled cuff that syncs with your cell phone that can transmit the data to the clinician on a daily or weekly basis to monitor progress. 

But, that’s not all.  We can gather all sorts of associated data at the same time.  We can use activity, calories burned, diet, heart rate, etc., data in context of the blood pressure data to better determine patterns.  Thus, the drug company gets a much better profile of how the subjects respond, or do not respond, to the drug. 

While this seems like a common sense use of data, it’s data that was not available in drug trials of the past.  Those who test drugs had to interrupt their subjects’ lives for close monitoring, and thus few participated in the study due to the time requirements and disruption.  Now, the monitoring is much less intrusive thus those who may not have participated in such studies in the past, will do so now. 

However, the largest benefit is the data.  With the core data gathered along with the contextual data, those who test drugs get a better understanding of what the drugs are doing faster than in traditional trials.  That is the real difference.

Once again, it’s data and data integration that are strategic technologies in this arena.  With the ability to freely send and receive data, drug companies reduce costs and speed the time it takes to get a drug to patients who need it.  Moreover, it’s not only the testing that benefits.  The same technology can be leveraged to monitor patients in near real time.  Thus, if there is an unknown interaction or allergy, the doctors can intervene before things get too far out of hand. 

Data integration is revolutionizing many industries, but not as much as in healthcare.  The ability to gather and view data from many different sources, including the human body, is a new solution to an old problem that will end up benefiting us all. 

       

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David S. Linthicum is a managing director and chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte Consulting, and an internationally recognized industry expert and thought leader.
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