The Promise Of The Digital Health Revolution For Clinical Trials

The global head of research at Sanofi put a policy in place to attach a digital health strategy concept to each molecule that goes through the pharmaceutical company’s pipeline. The fact that a digital strategy is reaching into the depths of the largest pharma companies is extremely encouraging for the continued evolution of clinical development, says Donald Jones, the chief digital officer at Scripps Translational Science Institute, which serves as the world’s first clinical trials center focused exclusively on digital medicine.
The institute, led by renowned genomics and digital medicine researcher Eric Topol, has run multiple clinical trials using digital technologies. The majority of the institute’s trials try to validate the use of new digital technology for medical care. From his vantage point, Jones is witnessing firsthand how companies are blending the disciplines of technology and life sciences.
Jones, speaking at the recent Partnerships In Clinical Trials conference in Boston, told the audience that the venture community could invest more money in digital health than in biotech in 2015. In 2014, investments in digital health exceeded $4 billion according to some estimates, and in 2015 investments are expected to hit roughly $6.8 billion in venture funds.
The investments sums are impressive, but so are the players involved in digital health. The pharmaceutical company Novartis recently teamed up with the venture arm of wireless tech giant Qualcomm to start a digital health venture fund to support early stage companies that incorporate digital technology into medicine.
According to an analysis by PriceWaterhouseCooper, 38 of the Fortune 50 companies now offer healthcare products or services, up from 14 companies three years ago, and the list includes retailers, technology companies, telecommunications and consumer companies.
“The biggest theme in digital health is the consumerization of the healthcare offering and the consumerization of traditional healthcare in ways that were not thought to be possible,” Jones said.
For example, LabCorp recently announced a direct-to-consumer service for lab testing, joining competitors in the space. Consumers can now get Color, a breast cancer genetic test for $250, down from the traditional cost that hovered near $4,000.
 “We’re seeing this convergence of technologies as the electrical engineering and computer science worlds blend in with the life sciences world,” Jones said, adding that at Scripps, “we are taking this evolution of technology and applying it into trials.”
Many of Scripps’ clinical trials are focused on the devices themselves to better understand their capabilities in medical care. For example, Scripps studied the use of a GE handheld sonography device that can be used in cardiac rounds in a hospital to see if the device could take the place of a much more expensive ultrasound machine.
Jones notes that as research and medical care start to become unplugged electronically, it raises questions about how healthcare should be delivered and researched.

from Forbes – Business
via Abogado Aly Business Consulting

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