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Mayo Clinic boosts clinical trials with IBM Watson artificial intelligence


Mayo Clinic and IBM Watson Health have announced the results of a cutting-edge project putting the supercomputer to work for patient matching: Watson brought in more patients than before to participate in recent breast cancer clinical trials. Only 5 percent of patients with cancers participate in clinical trials nationwide, according to Mayo Clinic officials, who noted that that low enrollment makes for many clinical trials that are slow to finish or not completed. That delays advances in research and results in less access to better therapies.
Florian Morandeau's curator insight, March 16, 2:17 AM

IBM Watson matches more patients to breast cancer clinical trial than had previously participated.

Could a pharma company shun sales reps and be successful?


Could there be a pharma, healthcare or life sciences company that decides to shun sales representatives?

Matt Lowe, pharma agency veteran and founder (just this week) of healthtech agency, believes that such a company, relying heavily on search and performance marketing, may be a possiblity in the next few years (albeit once somebody has the courage to take the leap).

I spoke to Lowe about what he has seen across pharma and healthcare marketing, and the skills that are currently lacking in the industry. He painted a picture of pharma companies that are "certainly patient centric, they just don’t always behave like it online." 

B2B and B2C are blurring

"The healthcare and life sciences industry needs to understand, I believe, that doctors are consumers like anyone else, and so are patients and carers and nurses and pharmacists," says Lowe.

He adds that though most people's first point of contact when looking for medical advice is a search engine [62% of UK patients], "currently pharma has this decentralised model - a plan gets handed out and it’s very much based on sales force and market access – understandably, because that model has delivered significant returns for many, many years."

Such an approach has to change if pharma is to keep up with agile tech companies. Lowe mentions Amazon and JPMorgan Chase, saying "they have digital woven into the fabric of how they operate - pharma doesn’t, so trying to be agile and define how it engages with audiences is going to be a slow process."

Patient-focused content will impact the bottom line

The process of building website infrastructure and online content is one where Lowe sees a breakdown in patient focus – he describes websites as "built based on the ambition, critical success factors, brand and strategic imperatives of the pharma company," but adding that "patients don't care about any of those things. They care about solutions when they need it most, whether it’s a stubbed toe or multiple myeloma."

"For the companies that have the most data on these solutions, the way they use that data is really bad. I get asked sometimes - ‘Do people want information from a big pharma company?’ - and I genuinely think people don’t care where the information comes from, if it’s well balanced, useful, relieves anxiety, or helps with the next best step."

This sort of content often benefits communities dealing with a particular condition, such as diabetes or cardiovascular problems, but Lowe asserts that the value of this approach for pharma also impacts on harder metrics, not just the softer ones.

"From a financial aspect," he says, "if people are better controlled then concordance is better (compliance, persistence, adherence) people stay on drugs longer, there's more effective up-titrating and it affects the P&L very positively."

Analytics and planning skills are lacking, for now

Pharma is stereotyped as being a laggard in some areas of digital. Though this is perhaps too easy an assumption to make, Lowe characterises the typical campaign or website build involving perhaps "a social listening exercise, maybe a keyword planner" but not truly understanding "insights informed infrastructure".

According to Lowe, marketers need to look at a slew of search and behavioural data and decide "what to avoid, what is useful based on semantic search behaviours, what kind of content is engaged with, on which platforms, with what frequency, and in which formats."

This type of activity will help set "domain strategy, url taxonomy, site structure, and onsite and offsite keywords", but according to Lowe the industry needs to recruit better skills in technology such as "tag management, advanced analytics, Google search console etc." 

Pharma needs to join the dots with performance marketing

Once campaigns and content are live, the next task is optimisation of performance marketing. Again, knowing how to track users and understand the success of content is key.

Lowe gives the example of event tracking, such as how many doctors are watching videos on up-titration of a complex medicine, or tracking consumers downloading a helpful PDF. Combining event tracking with acquistion through social media, and landing page optimisation is the kind of marketing industry standard conversion funnel that pharma needs to properly implement.

In order to do this, says Lowe, "investment in new people, new behaviours and new skills" is needed.

The rest of the world isn’t standing still

Many of these techniques of performance marketing are fairly well established now, but pharma marketers shouldn't be complacent and think that bringing their capability up to standard will be simple. Tech continues to evolve, with innovation such as blockchain creeping into paid media.

As ever, digital transformation is a journey, not an endpoint. Whether pharma needs its sales reps or not, the skillset for pharma marketers is changing.

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Healthcare marketing and technology trends | DRG Digital videos


Snackable insights into pharma marketing, digital health and the customer experience from DRG Digital | Manhattan Research Studios
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2018 and Beyond: Outlook and Turning Points - IQVIA


Institute report, 2018 and Beyond: Outlook and Turning Points, analyzes ten healthcare trends where stakeholders and decision makers are increasingly using evidence and technology, coupled with relevant expertise, to solve the problems of human health. The report features ten predictions that promise to transform areas of healthcare cost, access and outcomes through innovations, a better understanding of spending growth drivers, and adoption of novel approaches to determine the societal value of medicines.
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From app store to drug store, digital health is redefining pharma’s pipeline  #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


Backed by a growing body of evidence, software is itself becoming a prescription for diseases ranging from depression to heart disease, and drug companies are starting to take notice.
Florian Morandeau's curator insight, March 14, 2:10 AM

Software is itself becoming a prescription for diseases ranging from depression to heart disease.

3 Takeaways from PwC’s 2018 Health Industry Issues Report #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


4 min read — PwC's latest report outlines emerging patient centricity best practices — how does your medical organization stack up?
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Novartis, Pear Therapeutics sign development deal for two digital therapeutics


Pear Therapeutics has inked a deal with pharma company Novartis to work together on the development of two digital therapeutics for multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia. It’s the first time a pharma company has made a development deal with a digital therapeutic, according to Pear.
Florian Morandeau's curator insight, March 13, 1:50 AM

It’s the first time a pharma company has made a development deal with a digital therapeutic.

Novartis pushes ‘virtual’ clinical trial concept


Running clinical trials is an expensive business and Novartis has signed a new deal with US tech company Science 37 to try to take some of the costs out of the process.

The aim is to expand the number of ‘virtual’ trials it runs, with patients interacting with investigators via mobile phones and telemedicine devices rather than attending investigation sites in person. It’s not a new concept - Novartis already has virtual trials ongoing - but the deal with Science 37 for ten trials over the next three years signals greater acceptance of the approach.

It’s a gradual process, and Novartis says the studies will “blend virtual and traditional models, with increasing degrees of decentralisation towards a mostly ‘site-less’ model”. This could allow trials to dramatically increase the pool of patients they can draw upon as they can now participate at their home or via their own doctor’s office.

Under former R&D chief and now CEO Vas Narasimhan, Novartis has long been a devotee of using technology to help the clinical trials process, medical education and healthcare delivery become more efficient.

In 2015 for example the company formed a wide-ranging alliance with tech giant Qualcomm to move towards greater use of digital devices in clinical trials, and it has also been active in making venture capital available to players in this sector - in fact it took a 10% stake in Science 37 after participating in the firm’s third-round financing last year.

Novartis says the new decentralised trials are expected to begin later this year in the US in the areas of dermatology, neuroscience and oncology. It’s already running semi-virtual trials for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), acne and cluster headache.

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Pratiques, compétences, organisation : comment le digital « disrupte  et réinvente la communication… « –


Les marketeurs et les communicants seraient-ils obsédés par la révolution numérique et ses impacts ? On pourrait finir par le croire, si on s’en tient à la quantité de nouvelles publications …
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Where is biotech and big pharma on social media?


“The absence of pharma brands on social media creates a significant void of reputable healthcare information to aid patients.” posits Dawn Lacallade, LiveWorld. Why isn’t the pharmaceutical industry more active on social media? They would say advertising restrictions and other FDA regulations severely limit their ability to have a social media presence. There is a fear of discussing prescription medication in the uncontrolled environment of the internet. But the industry is missing a terrific opportunity to impact their entire constituency: patients, caregivers, employees, scientists and even their reputation.

Unmetric, a branded content analytics company, recently released a report that outlined social media trends for big pharma. They cited four silos where pharmaceutical companies are utilizing social media. All companies studied have excellent corporate social profiles. They are attractive and informative in a general way about the company, but they aren’t interactive. Most of the pharmaceutical companies have a career silo. It is interesting that the pharmaceutical industry has lagged other industries in setting up and managing an effective career site. No real clarity on why this has happened. There is little to no FDA regulation on advertising open positions.

About half of the pharmaceutical companies in Unmetric’s study have invested money and content into OTC brand profiles. Again these tend to be static/informative and not interactive. The biggest opportunity for big pharma is in the last silo defined by Unmetric, branded community properties. Patient’s have been and continue to turn to social media to research and understand their symptoms and diagnoses as well as trying to connect with other patients.


Under current FDA regulations it is hard for the pharma company to easily join the conversation to provide accurate, balanced info because regulations mandate that “within a single social post brands must provide accurate details on the benefits and risks associated with conditions and products.” Character limits and the speed with which interactions occur means a different approach is necessary. Pharma companies must talk about the disease rather than the product or drug itself. They must try to create a place where people gather who are concerned about one of these conditions. Trying to figure out what drives engagement and putting more effort and money into it will pay off for big pharma.

Social listening is another tool that biotech and big pharma under utilize. Gauging community sentiment about marketed drugs, learning about competitors and gaining insights to improve products, services and treatments are all achievable through social media research. Social media should be more of a pull than a push of information when done correctly. Kiran Mazumdar-Sahw, Chair and Managing Director of Biocon Limited, says, “Doctors clearly will drive this change, as will younger patients. The mindset today is still controlled by pre-internet key opinion leader doctors and older patients who are not tech savvy. As younger and tech-savvy doctors and patients populate our health care ecosystem, things will change and this change will occur rapidly after a certain inflection point which is not more than 3-5 years away. There will be an explosion of social media and mobile-based apps.” For the savvy biotech or pharmaceutical company it’s time to start investing in social media.

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Sanofi, première locomotive de la Cité numérique bordelaise


Sanofi sera la première "tête de gondole" de la future Cité numérique, qu
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17 Pharma Companies Using Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery


If you read my list of startups using artificial intelligence to drug discovery, you may have wondered: how much traction do these companies actually have? And perhaps, if you work for a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company, a related question: are any of my competitors working with them?

To help answer such questions, this post summarizes how pharmaceutical companies apply artificial intelligence in drug discovery, including through partnerships with AI startups. As with my startup list, I aim to keep this regularly updated. So if I'm missing anything (which I certainly am, because details of partnerships are usually kept secret), or you have news to share, please email me. Or post your update in the comments.


Abbvie has been quiet about its use of artificial intelligence in drug discovery. But it does have a confidential project listed with Atomwise. Also, in September 2016, Abbvie partner AiCure announced how its AI-based patient monitoring platform improved adherence in an Abbvie phase 2 schizophrenia trial.


In August 2017, AstraZeneca and Berg Health announced a partnership to discover therapeutic targets for neurological diseases such as Parkinson's. In February 2018, AstraZeneca announced a partnership with Alibaba to apply technology including artificial intelligence to patient diagnosis and treatment. (They shared few details.)


Astellas appears to be focusing AI drug discovery on repurposing existing compounds. It publicized a "Drug Repurposing & Application Management" in February 2015. In December of that year, Astellas and Biovista announced a partnership around drug repurposing. And in January 2016 Astellas and NuMedii announced a similar repurposing collaboration.

Boehringer Ingelheim

One of the earliest AI drug discovery partnerships I could find predates the recent hype about machine learning. Between the Canadian arm of Boehringer Ingelheim and Numerate, in December 2011, it doesn't even refer to AI. A Numerate press release states that it is "leveraging the power of cloud computing and novel computational methods to transform the drug design process." The partnership is focused on generating small molecule drug leads for an unnamed infectious disease target.


Evotec is difficult to describe. It refers to itself as a "drug discovery alliance and development partnership company." Its partners include many more well-known pharmaceutical companies, such as Bayer, Sanofi, Genentech, Janssen, and UCB. It also has a tight partnership with Exscientia. Evotec announced an initial collaboration in April 2016 and an investment in September 2017. The partnership focuses on creating bispecific small molecule immuno-oncology therapies. These are treatments that can hit two different cancer targets simultaneously.


In June 2017, Genentech and GNS Healthcare announced a partnership to find and validate potential cancer drug targets by analyzing data from sources such as electronic medical records and next generation sequencing.


GSK is probably the most active of all pharmaceutical companies in applying artificial intelligence to drug discovery. It created an in-house artificial intelligence unit. (Initially called "Medicines Discovered Using Artificial Intelligence.” Now called “In silico Drug Discovery Unit.”) And it has partnered with startups including Exscientia and Insilico Medicine. The partnership with Excscientia, announced in July 2017, is to discover novel and selective small molecules for up to 10 disease-related targets across undisclosed therapeutic areas. The partnership with Insilico, announced in August 2017, is to identify novel biological targets and pathways. GSK is also part of the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) Consortium, which aims to leverage artificial intelligence to go from drug target to patient-ready therapy in less than a year. (An ambitious goal.) GSK gave ATOM chemical and in vitro biological data for more than 2 million compounds it has screened. (For more information on how GSK became such a leader, check out my article “6 Steps to AI Leadership in Pharma: An Interview with John Baldoni of GSK.”)


One of the more unique AI drug development partnerships I've seen is that between Janssen and BenevolentAI. In November 2016, they announced that BenevolentAI would license the right to develop, manufacture, and commercialize clinical stage drug candidates from Janssen after using artificial intelligence to identify untapped potential in Janssen's portfolio. This deal may already be bearing fruit, as BenevolentAI recently launched a phase 2b trial for a drug from the partnership to treat sleepiness in people with Parkinson's disease. In January 2018, Johnson & Johnson Innovation announced a partnership between Janssen and WinterLight Labs to try predicting dementia and neurodegenerative diseases from voice samples obtained through Janssen clinical trials.


Like Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck struck an early partnership with Numerate, which they announced in March 2012. The collaboration focuses on generating novel small molecule drug leads for an unnamed cardiovascular disease target. Merck also has a confidential project with Atomwise.


While not a traditional pharmaceutical company, Nestlé has a health science division. It aims to advance nutrition as therapy. In February 2018, Nestlé announced a partnership with Nuritas to enlist AI in this mission. This partnership will use AI to discover therapeutic peptides in foods.


On the commercial side, Novartis has been quite innovative in using digital media. Its heavily digital campaign for Gilenya, for example, won multiple awards. But it has made relatively few big moves with artificial intelligence. This could be about to change, with incoming CEO Vas Narasimhan announcing in a September 2017 interview that he planned to partner with or acquire AI and data analytics companies. In January 2018, an article revealed that Novartis has partnered with McKinsey’s QuantumBlack to analyze clinical trial operations with machine learning. They claim the work has reduced patient enrolment times by 10-15%.


Of all the companies on this list, only one has publicly promoted a drug discovery partnership using IBM Watson: Pfizer. In December 2016, Pfizer and IBM announced a partnership to accelerate drug discovery in immuno-oncology. There has been little announced since (at least, that I can find), but a string of negative reports about IBM Watson's capabilities (here, here, here, here, here, here, and I could go on), including in healthcare, call into question how fruitful the partnership might be.


Another prominent Exscientia partner is Sanofi. Their partnership, announced in May 2017, focuses on finding bispecific small molecule drugs for metabolic diseases such as diabetes and their comorbidities. Sanofi and Berg Health also announced a partnership in October 2017 to assess potential biomarkers for seasonal flu vaccine performance. Earlier, in April 2016, Sanofi's Genzyme unit and Recursion Pharmaceuticals announced a partnership to use Recursion's drug repurposing platform to screen Sanofi molecules for genetic disease targets.


In February 2017, Japan's Santen, which focuses on ophthalmic products, and TwoXAR announced a partnership to find new drug candidates for glaucoma.


Another partner of the very active Numerate, Servier and the startup announced in June 2017 a collaboration to design small molecule modulators of ryanodine receptor 2 (RyR2), a target thought to be important in cardiovascular disease that has eluded drug-ability. The collaboration could lead to new treatments for heart failure and arrhythmias.

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma

One of Exscientia's early partners, Sumitomo Dainippon and the startup announced in September 2015 initial results of a collaboration to identify new treatments for psychiatric diseases. The first compound identified was a bispecific, dual-agonist molecule that selectively activates two GPCR receptors from two distinct families.


Another Numerate partner, Takeda and the startup announced in June 2017 that they would collaborate on identifying candidates for oncology, gastroenterology, and central nervous system disorders.

Anything I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments of other pharma companies using AI in drug discovery or of any details I’m missing or got wrong above.

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Janssen launching trial with smartphone app, smart blister packs #hcsmeufr #esante #pharma #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


After five years of development, Janssen is finally set to launch the first clinical trial to use its iSTEP technology toolset, which employs smart blister packs and a patient-facing smartphone app.

Janssen has designed a system – iSTEP, Integrated Smart Trial and Engagement Platform – wherein medications in a clinical trial are carefully managed and scanned at each point of the process.

“The mission… is to make clinical trials a better place for both investigators and patients…” said Dr. Andreas Koester, VP of R&D Operations Innovation at Janssen. There was no integrated solution that would combine solutions to address workflow on the administrative side and adherence and support on the patient side.

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Edible QR Codes Could Deliver Exactly What Your Body Needs to Heal #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


A new study suggests that printing drugs on a QR code that patients can scan with their phones could pave the way for personalized medicine.
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Big pharma, big data: why drugmakers want your health records #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


Drugmakers are racing to scoop up patient health records and strike deals with technology companies as big data analytics start to unlock a trove of information about how medicines perform in the real world.
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Many Marketers Plan to Up Their Investment in Influencer Marketing #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


significant number of marketers are seeing the value in influencer marketing, at least according to a study from marketing firm WhoSay.

Some 70% of US agency and brand marketers said they “agree” or “strongly agree” that influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2018.
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Why Big Pharma and biotech are betting big on AI #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


Developing new medicines isn’t for the faint of heart. On average, it takes about a decade of research — and an expenditure of $2.6 billion — to shepherd an experimental drug from lab to market. And because of concerns over safety and effectiveness, only about 5 percent of experimental drugs make it to market at all.

But drug makers and tech companies are investing billions of dollars in artificial intelligence with the hope that AI will make the drug discovery process faster and cheaper.

“I believe that AI is a sleeping giant for healthcare in general,” Eric Horvitz, director of Microsoft Research Labs in Redmond, Washington, said last month at the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement for Science in Austin, Texas. He said Microsoft was investing in AI for drug design and pharmacology, which studies how drugs act in the body, and called the technology a “tremendous opportunity.”

Microsoft is far from alone in its AI bet. As of late February, the Toronto-based biotech company BenchSci had counted 16 pharmaceutical companies and more than 60 startups using AI for drug discovery.

Biggest bottlenecks

The biggest bottlenecks in drug development usually lie within the early stages of research, especially in the time needed to go from identifying a potential disease target (typically a protein within the body) to testing whether a drug candidate can hit that target.

The most ambitious AI groups, including a private-public consortium dubbed ATOM, are aiming to compress that process — which can take four to six years — into a single year.

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Clinical trials need a lot more digital  #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


This story is all about introducing digital marketing techniques to clinical trials. This is a critical issue that will only get more important as pharma searches for more niche and rare-disease drugs to improve patients' health.

Or put aside the perceptual and logistical concerns, and focus on the financial ones. Per the KMR Group’s thorough Clinical Trial Cost Study, conducted in 2016, a phase I trial for patients costs $3.4 million. A phase II trial costs $8.6 million, while a phase III trial costs $21.4 million. Additionally, every month tacked on to a phase III trial costs another $671,000. Shwen Gwee, head of digital strategy, global clinical operations at Biogen, declines to weigh in on specific figures, but acknowledges “it becomes a big and expensive problem if you can’t recruit on time.”

Here at Klick we’ve “saved” (that’s a strong word, but maybe -Ed.) by increasing recruitment using Facebook and other targeted social platforms. Sometimes, it’s all about reaching the right people and positioning the opportunity correctly:

Health-tech entrepreneur Fabio Gratton, CEO of clinical-trial awareness and recruitment facilitator CureClick, agrees that perception remains a major concern, adding, “Nobody is ever specifically looking to be a part of a clinical trial. People sign up because somebody recommends they participate, or sometimes because they feel it’s their last resort.”

This story is quite detailed and worth a read if your brands are still conducting clinical trials.

In related news, Facebook had a special breakfast to discuss engaging patients for clinical trials in its NYC office (if you weren’t invited, don’t fret, neither was our social team -Ed.).

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Big pharma, big data: why drugmakers want your health records  #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


Drugmakers are racing to scoop up patient health records and strike deals with technology companies as big data analytics start to unlock a trove of information about how medicines perform in the real world.

Studying such real-world evidence offers manufacturers a powerful tool to prove the value of their drugs - something Roche (ROG.S) aims to leverage, for example, with last month’s $2 billion purchase of Flatiron Health.

Real-world evidence involves collecting data outside traditional randomized clinical trials, the current gold standard for judging medicines, and interest in the field is ballooning.

Half of the world’s 1,800 clinical studies involving real-world or real-life data since 2006 have been started in the last three years, with a record 300 last year, according to a Reuters analysis of the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s website.

Hot areas for such studies include cancer, heart disease and respiratory disorders.

Historically, it has been hard to get a handle on how drugs work in routine clinical practice but the rise of electronic medical records, databases of insurance claims, fitness wearables and even social media now offers a wealth of new data.

The ability to capture the experience of real-world patients, who represent a wider sample of society than the relatively narrow selection enrolled into traditional trials, is increasingly useful as medicine becomes more personalized.

However it also opens a new front in the debate about corporate access to personal data at a time when tech giants Apple (AAPL.O), Amazon (AMZN.O) and Google’s parent Alphabet (GOOGL.O) are seeking to carve out a healthcare niche.

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AI, mHealth Apps Aid Clinical Trials, but Adoption is Slow  #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


Artificial intelligence (AI) and mHealth applications can accelerate clinical trial innovation by enhancing patient participation and optimizing efficiency, but organizational resistance and underdeveloped data analytics are barriers to stakeholder adoption, according to a Deloitte report.

As consumer expectations have evolved, clinical trial participants have come to demand a more patient-friendly experience. However, the report points out that the industry has been slow to meet even the most basic expectations.

Traveling to clinical sites is a major burden for clinical trial participants and can reduce their willingness and ability to participate. According to the report, 70 percent of potential participants in the US live more than two hours away from the nearest study center, making clinical trial involvement more inconvenient and less engaging.

Virtual trials offer a solution to this problem, allowing patients to participate in studies from the comfort of their own homes and eliminating travel burdens.

“Such trials leverage social media, e-consent, telemedicine, apps, and biosensors to simplify recruitment, communicate with patients, and support both passive and active data collection,” the report says.

READ MORE: Artificial Intelligence Will Be Foundational for Health IT in 2018


In addition, clinical trials that utilize text messaging and smartphone apps can continually engage patients throughout the process by reminding them to take their medications, recording their health data, and answering their questions in real time.   

Traditional clinical trial recruitment approaches also fail to gather diverse and representative study populations. Recruitment approaches that utilize social media and AI can result in reaching more diverse patients and can also help sponsors better understand the effects of treatments on different subpopulations.

Adding digital engagement and health IT tools to the traditional clinical trial recruitment and management process may help researchers overcome some of the inefficiencies of the current system. Standard periodic clinical assessments collect participant data infrequently, while repetitive manual and administrative tasks can reduce researchers’ productivity.

Smartphone sensors, wearable devices, and mHealth apps can collect data more efficientlyand produce more sensitive measurements, the report says. This can demonstrate the effect of therapy with shorter studies, fewer patients, and less time and money invested.

Smartphone apps can also help capture data points that matter to patients, such as quality of life measurements or the ability to perform specific daily activities, which can help drive market success.

READ MORE: How Do Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Differ in Healthcare?


In addition, tools driven by artificial intelligence methods, machine learning, or natural language processing, can be used to automate repetitive tasks, such as drafting standardized contracts or checking for missing or inconsistent patient data.

Despite the positive potential impact of AI and mobile health apps on patient participation and operational efficiency, many organizations engaged in clinical trials remain hesitant to adopt them.

“We found that the industry has been slow to digitize its clinical development processes, and that digital adoption varies widely,” the report stated.

“Even the most advanced organizations are simply piloting several technologies in different areas of clinical development, focusing on piecemeal solutions or new tools to support the existing process.”

All clinical trial sponsors agreed that questions about the safety and reliability of AI must be addressed before implementation. However, some said that their budgets are used for pilot innovations only, which can make it harder to convince clinical trial groups to fund the adoption of unproven AI.

READ MORE: The Role of Healthcare Data Governance in Big Data Analytics


“Disciplined change management can help overcome many organizational and cultural barriers,” the report recommends. “Education about the new technologies and processes and showcasing how they impact outcomes and day-to-day activities could be part of the change management initiatives.”

Insufficient IT infrastructure and low-level data analytics capabilities are other major areas of difficulty when it comes to adopting AI.

Interviewees said that typically, there are 30 to 50 data platforms and clinical systems used in a single clinical trial entity. This fragmented infrastructure can do a poor job of facilitating data flow and may limit the efficient performance of clinical trial operations.

The report also notes that although access to external data from EHRs and genomic databases is essential for clinical trials, this data is difficult to obtain.

“Academic researchers, investigators, CROs, and sponsors need to share data efficiently with each other. We also heard of differences in patient data privacy rules across geographies, as well as a need for additional consent if patient data is to be used outside of the clinical trial at hand,” noted the report.

To alleviate these issues, the report suggested stakeholders begin to develop data infrastructure and governance programs that will enable internal data to be analyzed across multiple studies. Clinical development leaders should also ensure that patient data can be used for secondary analysis and should define data-sharing agreements among researchers.

The report asserts that going forward, utilizing AI and mobile health apps will be imperative to the success of the clinical trial industry.

“Digital technologies can transform how companies approach clinical development by incorporating valuable insights from multiple sources of data, radically improving the patient experience, enhancing clinical trial productivity, and increasing the amount and quality of data collected in trials,” the report concludes.

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Pharma looking at Snapchat for younger audiences  #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


A story on Snapchat in MM&M shows that Snapchat is growing in popularity and is competing with Instagram for the younger demographics. Pharma marketers looking to a younger, including Millennial, audience may find some relatively underpopulated space on the platform.


The first issue surrounding Snapchat is demographics. If your audience skews younger you’re in the zone. If your audience is older you may have a caregiver and family member opportunity, and some brands have even had success with younger conference delegates. In comScore’s latest data we can see that both Snapchat and Instagram are catching up with Facebook for the 18-34 demo:

This data is illustrative in that we see the 18-34 audience moving to the quick-hit image-centric platforms of Snapchat and Instagram, but what about those younger than 18? Pharma marketers are loathe to target children because most of our products are indicated for 18+. Academics, however, are free to do so and the results are eye-opening:


The story talks about how Snapchat users are “growing into” the age where they will start to engage with health content:

As Klick Health’s senior director of social media Brad Einarsen points out, many millennials are becoming parents themselves. “After you have a child, health becomes very important. And as you get older, health takes on a bigger profile,” he notes. He adds that as millennials age, their wants and needs will increasingly overlap with pharma’s marketing priorities.

(Hey, I know that guy -Ed.)


The article also talks about Snapchat’s culture. It’s much more informal and encourages risk-taking because of the ephemeral nature of the posts (for those not familiar with the platform, they disappear after a specified number of seconds and users are alerted to screen captures).

Finally, there’s the Snapchat voice and tone, which Einarsen likens to “hanging out with your friends and chatting.” (Well duh, it is called Snapchat after all -Ed.) Twitter, on the other hand, is “more about learning things.” If they hope to craft messages that will resonate, brands must master the platform’s default tone. “Humor and very, very quick hits” are the key, explains Einarsen.

We’re out of space, but the full article also talks about HCP engagements and MRL tactics and is worth a few minutes of your Monday morning (66% of you read the Wire before 11AM -Ed.).

For (much) more detail you can just reply to this email and it will get to our social team. We’re happy to chat about all things health and social.

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Les nouveaux défis de l'industrie pharmaceutique  #hcsmeufr #esante #pharma


Equilibre entre spécialisation et diversification, succession des blockbusters et rémunération d
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Consumer Health and Patient Engagement – Are We There Yet?  #hcsmeufr #esante #digitalhealth #hcsmeu


Along with artificial intelligence, patient engagement feels like the new black in health care right now. Perhaps that’s because we’re just two weeks out from the annual HIMSS Conference which will convene thousands of health IT wonks, users and developers (I am the former), but I’ve received several reports this week speaking to health engagement and technology that are worth some trend-weaving.

As my colleague-friends Gregg Masters of Health Innovation Media (@2healthguru) and John Moore of Chilmark Research (@john_chilmark)  challenged me on Twitter earlier this week: are we scaling sustained, real patient engagement and empowerment yet?

Let’s dive into the reports’ findings to divine an answer for Gregg and John.

Change Healthcare published the company’s 8th Annual Industry Pulse Report, which examines key challenges facing payors and other stakeholders this year. The report analyzes results of a survey of over 2,000 Change Healthcare customers (from academia, government, technology vendors, hospitals, providers, and health plans), conducted in October-November 2017.

Several findings address patient and health engagement in this study, including:

  • The failure of high-deductibles’ “skin-in-the-game” theory to turn  patients into active health consumers
  • The growth of health plans and providers integrating social determinants of health into health strategies and tactics for improving peoples’ health outcomes and engagement
  • The migration of incentives from negative “sticks” to positive “carrots” along with more value-based benefit design in motivating consumer health behavior.

One of my favorite series of papers that inform my advisory work comes from PwC on the New Health Economy, this week publishing its report on Customer experience in the New Health Economy – the data cure. A highlight of their survey found that one-half of provider executives sees customer (patient, clinician) experience as a top strategic priority over the next 5 years, and most payer execs are investing in technology to improve member experience. Remember that health insurers rank very low on consumer experience compared with retailers and grocers.

PwC offers five pillars for healthcare stakeholders to build on to improve experience, including:

  • Convenience
  • Quality
  • Support
  • Personalization, and
  • Communication.

Finally, CarePayment studied the skin-in-the-game motivation for engagement, finding that 61% of patients don’t have money saved for healthcare expenses, and two-thirds of people have avoided or delayed medical care in the last year due to expected costs.

An alarming anti-engagement statistic is that 44% of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said they would not get needed medical care, even if it put their health at-risk, knowing they would have out-of-pocket expenses of $500.

The 20/20 CarePayment survey team also noted in their press release that among people who did not seek healthcare, medical debt is a growing and common problem impacting + nearly 1 in 4 Americans under 65.

The CarePayment poll was conducted in November-December 2017.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  So, Gregg and John, to your question: has patient empowerment and engagement scaled yet in U.S. healthcare?

Well, it depends on how we define the terms, and through what and whose lens. I do see green shoots of engagement among patients in the U.S., both for clinical activation and financial/shopping muscles.

A question in the Change Healthcare survey hints at one of the challenges in assessing and inspiring patient engagement: “What is the best approach for turning passive patients into active healthcare consumers?”

For many years, my discussions with patient activists on social media have informed me about some of the toxic language that prevents trusted conversations between people – patients, consumers, caregivers — and health care providers, plans, and pharma. Words like “adherence,” “compliance,” and in this question the verb, “turning,” are turn-offs for the very people legacy healthcare organizations want to engage.

Contemporary health engagement for patients in the U.S. is also complicated by the fact that patients are responsible for financing at least part of their healthcare — resulting in self-rationing among a large percentage of people who truly need to access care, the CarePayment survey points out. We’ve seen these behaviors based on other data sources, notably over the years via the Kaiser Family Foundation which I perennially cover — even back in 2012 before the advent of the Affordable Care Act.

As providers, payors and pharma allocate capital resources for technology to improve relationships with patients on the hardware side of the ledger, these healthcare organizations should also be mindful of other processes and mindsets facing consumer-patients — both in terms of helping people navigate the healthcare system, and at the same time, avoid the financial toxicity that can prevent them from seeking care in the first place.

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