By Jen Burstedt, Marketing & Communications
Wednesday was the last day of the annual Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference organized by Institute for International Research (IIR). The conference took place in Orlando, Florida and kicked off on Sunday, April 21st with the 2nd Annual Women Clinical Leadership Forum, where women within clinical trials convened to speak about challenges of leading and excelling as women while within the field of clinical trials.
On Monday, the exclusive Inaugural Executive Leadership Boardroom kicked off, an invitation-only event featuring question and answer sessions with top executives from pharmaceutical services companies. Concurrently, conference summits began on Monday, which spanned from Monday through Wednesday and covered topics ranging from “Case Study — Optimal Study Design to Propel Recruitment and Retention in Pediatric Studies” given by Michael G. Spigarelli, MD, PhD, of the University of Utah to “Improve Patient Data Collection with Electronic Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO)”, given by Elsie Mathews, MPH, of Bristol-Myers Squibb.
One of the most interesting sessions that I attended, which has a particular technological angle to it, was The Future of Drug Development in a Digital World, a presentation given by Eric Topol, MD, of Scripps Translational Science Institute & author of The Creative Destruction Of Medicine. Dr. Topol touched upon the changing digital world that we are living in and how the digital devices and data we already rely on in our everyday lives will start to be used in drug development and healthcare.
Drawing from examples such as crowd sourcing to fund healthcare (with organizations like Watsi), IBM Watson, the super computer that may one day be used to rapidly analyze patient data, to the use of smartphone apps (such as SkinVision, EyeNetra or Sotera) that patients can use to monitor their own health, Dr. Topol explained the supreme importance of data and the fact that patients are increasingly demanding – and will have access – to equal amount of information as the physician.
Dr. Topol ending with calling the tablet and smartphone a medical Gutenberg equivalent – these devices are opening up a democratization of information and letting patients be more in control. Dr. Topol concluded his presentation with a video clip from the film Jerry Maguire, but instead of those so-well known words of “show me the money!”, the message here was “show me the data!” Patient data, that is.