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Why Research Companies Need Real World Patient Data?

August 28, 2019


In healthcare research, studies in human patients in an experimental setting are typically considered to be the gold standard for assessing the safety and efficacy of a new drug. However, once the study is over and the drug gets approved to be marketed, it is used by healthcare practitioners in real-world, i.e. in their daily routine clinical practice with complex settings that are completely different from an experimental one. The real-world setting can lead to significant findings since the limitations of eligibility in studies in experimental settings do not apply in daily clinical practice. Therefore, research companies are increasingly paying attention in understanding and adapting the real-world patient data, i.e. your healthcare data.

The real-world data (RWD) from actual patients can enhance the information obtained through traditional clinical trials that have well-known limitations, which makes the generalisability of the results to larger, wide-ranging populations of patients, providers, and healthcare delivery systems difficult. These data are typically obtained from the following sources:

  1. Clinical data from human studies
  2. Patient-generated/reported outcomes
  3. Evolving data sources, such as social media
  4. Patients’ electronic health/medical records (EHRs/EMRs)
  5. Data from wearable medical devices and so on!

Today, with the advent of technology and various digital platforms, patients are becoming increasingly aware about their disease and treatment given. As a result, research companies need your data to incorporate into the design and analysis of ongoing and upcoming studies. For instance, physicians depend on EHR/EMR data for their research, while the same data can also be used by the administrators to monitor the care quality delivered across the healthcare system. Your data from real-world setting can be used to support healthcare research, develop disease understanding and clinical guidelines, and also encourage outcome-based reimbursement decisions. Many research companies have devoted to and established centralised teams to obtain real-world evidence (RWE) and develop standards and processes for the same. Typically, these teams try to promote the refinement of your data into their research to support the RWE function on a broader level.

It certainly looks like the continuous advent of real-world patient data will have a major influence on the healthcare industry. It is estimated that within next five years, the EHR vendors, health insurance companies and other clinical data stores will be able to make such data usable (and linkable) to support RWE and RWE studies. Moreover, research companies will rapidly progress to include deep expertise in both RWE study design and finally, you as a patient, will be at an utmost advantage since researchers will make the best use of this very important information to bring better treatments available to mankind.