What role does technology play in transforming engagement to deliver precision information for precision medicine? Malia Lewin explores.
Oncology is both the largest and fastest-growing therapeutic area in life sciences. New treatments are being developed at a remarkable pace, with more than 1100 oncology therapeutics in clinical development in the United States alone, a 34% increase since 2015. By 2024, worldwide sales for all oncology products will exceed $230 billion annually.
Over 85% of the oncology market is focused on targeted therapies, precision medicines that are tailored to the individual characteristics of each patient’s cancer. Advancements in therapeutic innovation and the growth of the precision medicine market create challenges for cancer treatment teams to stay current. Decades-old treatment paradigms are evolving, and oncologists require tools and data to determine which treatment to deliver to which patients at which point in the patient’s journey. To demonstrate the scale of the issue, the volume of medical literature is doubling every three years.
Life sciences organisations generally, and medical affairs teams specifically, must determine how to optimise delivery of scientific information through advanced tools that provide information to oncologists and their teams in the ideal formats and at the right points in their workflows. Solving this challenge will optimise the uptake of new advancements in the field.
Embracing the cloud
Technology can provide an answer to managing information overload and will improve the ability for medical teams to engage effectively. The cloud has matured and can deliver relevant medical education quickly and through multiple convenient channels. Cloud technology can also make concepts of precision medicine clearer through better, continuously updated content, including real-world data and visualisations. This transforms scientific data into easily consumed information that directly impacts patient outcomes – better, longer responses to treatment with the best-possible quality of life.
As highly complex therapies continue to enter the market and drive data volume, these trends will continue and the need to leverage cloud technology will intensify. The Cancer Genome Atlas, a project started in 2005 to catalogue genetic mutations responsible for cancer, generated multidimensional maps of genomic changes in more than 30 cancer types. Scientists have only just begun to leverage the Cancer Genome Atlas to identify new drug targets, and we can expect discovery to continue at a rigorous pace.
Building stronger relationships
In addition to the delivery of new information, the cloud also facilitates deeper, bidirectional conversations with a global audience. In the modern treatment environment, scientific experts are looking for targeted and more meaningful engagement from the industry. Technology innovations make it possible to provide on-demand scientific resources to providers, and then to track these communications to provide new insight back to home-office teams in order to inform ongoing research, data, and clinical needs.
Traditionally, life sciences companies have pushed information to doctors based on individuals’ past therapeutic-area activity. However, modern trends signal that this backward-looking approach will no longer be enough. Life sciences companies will need to use broader, real-time data sets and algorithms to drive targeted dialogue based on experts’ past and ongoing activities in the space.
By meeting providers at their particular career stages in the settings where they are practising, and in ways that support their career goals and interests, companies will drive more meaningful interactions and long-term relationships. By leveraging the cloud, companies can also reach additional members of treatment teams, from diagnostic and research specialists to nurses and physician associates, with relevant, targeted information.
Life sciences companies also can leverage emerging cloud-based data sources and communication tools to support better dialogue with busy medical experts. For example, innovative new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) will deliver valuable insight from large data sets that were previously difficult or overly time-consuming for experts to analyse, understand and incorporate into daily practice.
Industry will transform engagement to support precision medicine. In the ideal state, companies will deliver to global providers accurate, complete, insightful, and targeted scientific communications that will be enhanced with real-time analytics through AI and other technologies. The job of medical affairs teams will transform, as they will be able to support oncologists and other specialists with greater speed and valuable information and dialogue.
The patient benefits of deeper engagement
Precision medicine aims to deliver better patient outcomes through tailored treatment approaches. Cloud technology supports this objective, providing the industry with a nimble and scalable provider engagement model. This delivers better outcomes by pushing vital information to clinicians while pulling vital, real-world insight back from key experts in the field.
Many pharmaceutical companies are already seeing results from applying this new model. They can identify and reach key experts with tailored information and relevant, high-value data. They can instantly follow up with any trial or real-world data that experts need through their channels of choice. Should new biomarkers or data on new combination treatments or sequencing become available, medical science liaisons can react quickly to put that information into context for the provider. Further, as successful engagement approaches are shared across company teams and geographies, improved expert interactions and insight increase across the system and results grow exponentially.
Partnerships to drive better outcomes
Precision medicine demands a new approach to collaboration between industry and oncology care teams. The increasing volume of scientific data and faster rate of innovation require bidirectional partnerships, so patients can benefit from treatment advances.
As companies move away from brand-driven messages to science-based discussions, technology will assist in delivering the right information to each expert through channels that drive trusted partnerships and optimal treatment outcomes.
Developments in cloud-based technologies, such as AI, will allow for even better use of big data and analytics and enhance scientific communications with real-world insight. The successful delivery of precision medicine to the patient community will be defined by mutually valuable, bidirectional, multi-channel scientific dialogue between industry and oncology care teams.