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Supporting healthcare transformation through the generation of real-world evidence.

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Shaking Up Life Sciences Research to Save Lives Faster

The arrival of modern medical technology has sparked significant breakthroughs and saved countless lives. But there is still more work to do.

Today, we have a new problem to solve for, and that is to understand and make use of the data that technology has allowed us to grasp. We also need to determine how we can more effectively use data to provide better healthcare.

The simple answer is to use data generated by patients participating in an improvement project that is solving for unmet medical needs. The industry calls this “real-world evidence,” or research that is based on patient requirements and proven practices. The icing on the cake is that both the patients who are part of the project and the industry get to benefit from this research at the same time, as opposed to applying changes after identifying gaps in care. This can greatly accelerate improvements in patient outcomes.

Think of real-world evidence research like a clinical trial, except the drug has already been tested and the care delivery goes beyond simply administering a medication. Real-world evidence research is about implementing a holistic approach to caring for patients with unmet medical needs. Clinical trials, on the other hand, have strict eligibility requirements that eliminate pools of possible participants for a variety of reasons, (e.g., age, co-morbidities), which delay the innovation process.

Ultimately, real-world evidence projects represent a paradigm shift in how research is conducted. For them to be effective, life sciences companies and healthcare providers must work together to develop and test the solutions that will meet uncharted medical needs. However, given the amount of patient data available and the disconnect among provider technology systems, acquiring real-world data to support this work is not that simple. This type of research derives insights from medical records, prescriptions, registries, apps, surveys (e.g., reported outcomes), chart reviews and administrative data, such as claims and charge masters.

So, how do these organizations best capture and integrate data across the healthcare ecosystem to drive solutions to patient needs?

They Need the Right Data and Analytics

A database that allows researchers to conduct a range of analyses is critical. This includes evidence- and population-based analyses on drugs, devices, disease states, epidemiology, resource utilization, healthcare economics and clinical outcomes. These analytics can support both prospective and retrospective research, as well as co-development initiatives. Information on inpatient discharges from geographically diverse hospitals and health systems is also conducive to a useful database.

In reality, this data, which must be de-identified and HIPAA compliant, can take several forms. Hospital-level data, for example, includes admitting and attending physician specialties, point of origin, type of admission and discharge status (including mortality). Patient demographic data includes age, sex and race.

With the right kind of data, the room for opportunity is limitless. For example, Premier® is working with Merck to jointly improve vaccination rates among adults and adolescents, develop chronic care models for addressing issues related to osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes, and help reduce the recurrence of Clostridium difficile infection (C. diff). These projects are solving for unmet medical needs through the implementation of new care delivery practices and the use of robust real-world data analytics to measure, monitor and track results, and ultimately scale proven best practices.

Through Premier Applied Sciences®, Premier partners with a range of life sciences and healthcare industry leaders to develop, teach, test and research care delivery practices and real-world interventions that are driving healthcare improvement.

In another project, Premier and Amgen are working on a cloud-based system to help support the diagnosis and disease management of post-fracture patients who may be appropriate for an osteoporosis disease management program. And Premier is working with Janssen on the first study of its kind to address an unmet medical need for hospitalized patients with atrial fibrillation who are at risk for ischemic stroke (QUANTUM AF).

These studies are backed by a single database that pulls from multiple sources on patient characteristics, patient care patterns, outcomes and burden of illness over time, and for a wide range of therapeutic areas and products/devices.

Marrying Research with Real-Time Performance Improvement

Thanks to more sophisticated technology solutions, it’s easier than ever to measure the way health systems take care of patients. By effectively collecting, analyzing and benchmarking real-world data, those in the life sciences space can more accurately and quickly quantify their contributions, and continue driving real-time innovations and breakthroughs that ultimately improve patient outcomes and save lives.

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