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Real World Data in Healthcare

7 September 2022
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Real World Data in Healthcare

By Bill Hogan, CEO

Real world data (RWD) has a richness and scale that potentially allows researchers and physicians to see patterns that were previously hidden from them. As we progress with machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, the ability to visualise these patterns is greatly enhanced.

There are however many pitfalls on the path to the truth. Ensuring that all relevant variables are noted is key. These can range from disease severity, the care environment, treatment patterns and comorbidities to mention just a few.

Most data have traditionally come from medical records, but this really only offers a snapshot view of a patient’s heath landscape. The challenge for researchers is to remain cognisant of this whilst at the same time understanding their own selection bias.

Here in the UK, our National Health Service (NHS) holds medical records on more than sixty million people recording their health landscapes from birth to death. Sadly, most of these data sit in different silos, often in different formats and may even be coded in different ways. In January of this year, the UK launched a consultation with the aim of making the UK a world class sovereign regulatory environment for clinical trials and whilst this is very good news, it will take some considerable time to become a reality.

As the FDA continues to explore ways to harness RWD to measure health performance, we are moving steadily in a direction where RWD will become a standard practice in measuring healthcare.

Wearable technology that will deliver raw, unadulterated data will play a significant role here. Objective data collection can also help to address the unconscious bias that is often inherent in clinical practice. “Medical device standard” wearables should be the gold standard here. Routinely today we can see how this technology plays an essential role in a huge variety of conditions.

At Activinsights, we have participated in more than 100 clinicals trials ranging from early stage to late phase studies in a range of disciplines. These include Cardiology, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Psychiatry, Respiratory, Rheumatology, Urology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Musculoskeletal and healthy aging.

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