Global life sciences alliance launches digital healthcare initiative

10 June, 2020

The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, has launched a new series of programmes to help organisations collaborate on advancing the role of digital technology within life sciences R&D and healthcare.

As part of The Pistoia Alliance’s strategic refresh, defined by its 2030 vision report, the Alliance said it has created this initiative to bring together all stakeholders with an interest in digital health technologies, with the aim of developing projects that deliver real, tangible outcomes. According to the Alliance, the first project in this stream is being undertaken in collaboration with The Digital Medicine Society (DiMe), and will explore the quality generation and ethical use of digital health data in clinical studies. The project will analyse how a digital, real-world data collection tool is used during a clinical trial, aiming to define standards for collecting patient-centric data in a way that provides value for a particular therapeutic area.

“Using digital technologies in life sciences needs a pragmatic approach. The potential is huge, but many organisations are only talking about or piloting digital projects, rarely delivering tangible sustainable outcomes, and with many organisations’ projects simply duplicating efforts of their peers”, said Professor Ashley George, Co-Founder, The Pistoia Alliance. “Our projects are developed in response to our members’ challenges, and realising true patient centric value from ‘digital’ is a universal problem across all aspects of life sciences. For this first initiative, we turned our attention towards clinical trials because this is a resource intensive area of R&D and to date, data stewardship during trials, and indeed across the life sciences industry in general, has been poor”, he added.

According to The Pistoia Alliance, digital technology has become increasingly prevalent in clinical trials, thanks to patient wearables, in-house monitoring, mobile apps for collecting data, plus cloud and automation technologies, and this not only enables more innovative trials but improves the patient experience since they can be conducted virtually. However, these technologies collect large volumes of data, and since there is a lack of agreed metrics and standards for managing them, the ability to draw inferences and firm conclusions, or even to allow patients to share their own data, is limited. A recent survey conducted by the Alliance is said to have shown that 46% of respondents said a lack of industry wide data standards is the biggest barrier to collecting and leveraging patient data. “This project will address these problem areas by producing real-world outcomes, providing beacon projects showing consistency in how digital medicine tools are used in clinical trials, and how the data they collect are captured, recorded and shared”, said The Pistoia Alliance.

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