Patient Centricity and the Internet of Medical Things

Earlier this year, we wrote about the Internet of Medical Things and touched upon the exciting new wearable and ingestible medical devices that are being developed for use in health care and clinical trials.

Dr. Ayaaz Hussain Khan, Global Head Generics, Navitas Life Sciences recently published a relevant article in Express Pharma, emphasizing that patient-centricity needs to be at the heart of pharma drug design and development: Encouraging Patient-centric Innovation in Pharma.

In his article, Dr. Khan writes about how AI is already being used to improve data collection in clinical trials: “Many pharma companies and healthcare providers understand the need to get patient-specific data, collected either from patients’ diaries or sensor technology. Such data collection may be carried out even during the clinical trial process. The Apple Watch heart study is a case in point, where real-time data of over 400,000 participants was collected to understand heart health, taking experimental studies out of the confines of closed doors.”

Dr. Khan considers patient centricity the driving factor for innovation in pharma and stresses the importance of addressing the key requirements of the target population during drug design for better outcomes. Undoubtedly, technology is key in identifying those requirements and tracking the outcomes. The IoT is positioned to increase patient participation and improve data collection, data sharing, and cost reduction. Connected medical devices have an amazing potential to collect data in new, efficient, and cost-effective ways. 

As early as 2015, the Washington Post reported, "The research firm Gartner forecasts that 68.1 million wearable devices will be shipped this year...and a survey by Nielsen last year indicated that 61% of those aware of wearable technology for tracking and monitoring medical conditions use fitness bands." The next logical step is implementing wearable devices and ingestible sensors for clinical trials.

There is a strong indication that using connected wearable devices may not only result in more accurate data collection but will improve patient participation and retention in studies, due to increased convenience. There is also the benefit of peace-of-mind when patients know they are being constantly monitored, and in fact, the safety of studies is greatly increased when researchers have the ability to intervene at the first sign of possible trouble. 

This from the Clinical Leader: “Consider for a moment the potential effect that combining the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and a pharmaceutical (product) have on outcomes. It might sound futuristic, but it’s not. In 2017, a treatment delivery system combining a drug with an ingestible digital tracking system was approved by the U.S. FDA for the treatment of schizophrenia, the acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder, and as an add-on treatment for depression in adults. In addition to the ingestible sensor, the system includes a wearable receiver patch, a mobile app, and the drug itself. Patients who have schizophrenia often stop taking their medicine, triggering psychotic episodes that can have severe consequences. While the real-world results are still being understood, some in the payer community have recently taken notice and are collaborating in an attempt to improve outcomes in a difficult-to-treat disease.”

Indeed, these are amazing advances that will definitely alter the world of Data Science, and qualified programmers will play a crucial role in turning this massive amount of data into practical applications. This is a good time to be a Data Scientist.

Dolores Green, CEO of the Inland Empire Foundation for Medical Care and Executive Director of the Riverside County Medical Association, wrote in a recent commentary for Modern Healthcare, “Data exchange affords us insight that’s life-saving, cost-effective and allows providers to make an impact… Improving patient outcomes and reducing cost isn’t just about data, it’s about utilizing data effectively and turning it into a usable source…According to a recent report from the American Hospital Association, it’s most often the inability to utilize received data within receiving provider technologies that is a major hindrance to interoperability.” She emphasizes: “It’s time to connect to health data networks.”

No matter how much data is collected, it’s worthless if not properly interpreted and managed, in any setting. For clinical trials especially, it needs to be properly handled by companies that specialize in transforming pharmaceutical data into reports for FDA submissions. Navitas Data Sciences has been specializing in this area for over 26 years, and finds itself at the top of the field and primed for taking on the submission challenges of the new decade.

Ideally, someday these reports will be integrated with reliable data repositories, and will universally benefit the advancement of life-saving drugs. And yes, there are people working hard at making these dreams a reality. The 5th Annual Clinical Trials IoT & Digital Endpoints Forum convened at Pfizer’s Innovation Research Lab in Cambridge just this past November, with the purpose of exploring better data collection, improving patient experience, and securing patient data. 

The impact of the Internet of Things technologies in medical research is huge and its potential to improve the standard of care for the masses is imminent. Our job as Data Scientists now is to be ready for it.

You may read Dr. Ayaaz Hussain Khan’s full article here:

Learn more about Navitas Data Sciences Clinical Data Services here: