During 2016, I’ve profiled the various parts of the pharmaceutical life cycle, highlighting many of the challenges pharma organizations, along with their partners, face related to integration and data management. It’s critical over the coming year for pharma organizations to rise to these challenges since accurate data enables innovation as well as sound and timely business decision-making.
The figure below illustrates the key phases in the pharma lifecycle — and represents the underlying importance of data at each phase:
Our year-long series covered how customers can meet the challenges at every stage of the discovery process. Here is a recap of key points:
- Research and development: Pharma organizations analyze information for drug and product development at this phase, broadly covering drug research and discovery. Aside from analyzing drug compounds, pharma R&D requires access to patient data from a variety of sources. We talked about how pharma companies can resolve technical issues so that data scientists can access the information they need without spending an inordinate amount of time on “clean-up” chores.
- Clinical: We discussed the challenges of conducting clinical trials, interacting with contract research organizations (CROs) and formatting information into structured models for evaluation and FDA submission. There is a critical need to share data before and during the trial phase, as well as to bridge gaps in CRO data translation capabilities and to gain actionable visibility into data at all stages of the trial. This helps to avoid delayed time to market and compliance failures.
- Manufacturing and supply chain: Our discussion focused on what pharma organizations must do after securing approval — the need for access to fully integrated financial data; a way to streamline source-to-settle (S2S), order to cash (OTC) and other processes; and a plan to maintain an efficient, visible supply chain. Many pharma companies are outsourcing to Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs), which means they no longer have the supply chain visibility they would have with in-house manufacturing. This makes centralized visibility across multiple levels and organizations crucial, and data is the key.
- Sales and marketing: Consumers obtain information on products from brick-and-mortar locations (including pharmacies and doctors’ offices) as well as the internet. In our discussion, we identified how pharma organizations can find a way to aggregate global point of sale information from different sources and harmonize product data to make decisions on future production and distribution. Our conclusion – this requires an ability to take in data via many sources and formats and to create actionable insights. Web analytics can help pharma organizations focus their marketing efforts.
- Outcomes and adherence: Pharma organizations can get insights from tracking how drugs are used in the real world. In this blog post, we pointed out that this makes the ability to extract clinical notes from patient electronic health records (EHRs) incredibly important. The capacity to integrate data from disparate sources and use natural language processing to link symptoms and recommended solutions allows firms to then analyze data for insights and make improvements.
- Sentiment: On this topic, we reviewed a bit of history and talked about how, until relatively recently, pharma organizations had to call consumers directly to ask for feedback or await inbound complaints via calls or letters. Today, inspecting social networking data helps companies determine consumer sentiment, both positive and negative, and the volume and velocity of change in the global social spectrum. We discussed the need access to publicly available data to gather consumer sentiment and analyze it for insights to drive business decisions.
- Trust and Compliance: As our series drew to a close, we talked about how it’s critically important to know where data resides, where it travels, and who has access to it. At this phase, pharma organizations need a Trust Framework to ensure compliance, security and privacy. Encryption is typically the solution posed for these issues, but it’s important to keep in mind that technology is only part of the solution. People and processes must also address concerns about compliance, security and privacy.
Even as our year-long series unfolded, we saw organizations accumulate data at a faster rate than ever before and find new data sources that they previously either had not considered, could not access, or had not integrated with existing data sources. Both situations provide opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to gain more insight, bring products to market faster and optimize the businesses.
Data is here to stay and is the “currency” for new innovations as pharmaceutical companies look to help improve consumer and patient outcomes. If you haven’t already, take some time to look through the blogs from this past year, each of which provides insights into the challenges and offers solutions that can help your organization to prosper in 2017.
See you next year!