Article Blog August 10, 2020 2 minute read

Pre-Pandemic, Perpetual Piloting Was Paralyzing Pharma

How the current crisis is accelerating the adoption of clinical data management technology.

Prior to the pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry found itself in a difficult situation: A rising reliance on patient-centric and patient-directed data, higher levels of customization, and the need to coordinate more solutions and sources were causing more problems than they were solving.

According to research from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (TCSDD), inefficiencies resulting from increased data volume and diversity were adding 14% more cycle time to typical clinical studies. In a new webinar I co-hosted with the TCSDD’s Deputy Director Kenneth Getz, we presented research that revealed six primary barriers to technology adoption among 114 pharmaceutical companies surveyed. What’s interesting is that the problems center more around cultural considerations and resistance to change than any issues inherent in new technologies.

Factors Impacting Technology Solution Adoption

While companies are willing to pilot different solutions, many fail to make broader commitments to achieve benefits at scale. In a lot of cases, plans to move beyond the pilot stage don’t even exist or the people involved in the pilots are no longer available to make an effective transition when the testing phase is over.

84 percent of the sponsors surveyed said they were unlikely to adopt a new solution without a pilot but 87% reported that it’s difficult to generalize a pilot to portfolio activity.

Perceiving high levels of risk, most companies tend to silo pilot activities, relegating them to studies that aren’t easy to tie back to the portfolio, and under-invest in pilots without additional continuity planning.

Quick Poll: Has the pandemic caused the acceleration of digital transformation or the need for remote monitoring in your company?

The Pandemic Changed Everything

Then an unexpected disruption forced pharma to take unprecedented actions. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 40 percent of all trials quickly switched to remote models and regulatory bodies around the world facilitated rapid innovation and relaxed restrictions around telemedicine, home visits, and IMP shipments.

The need for speed and resourcefulness gave sponsors a reason to embrace change and look at pilots as springboards for organization-wide paradigm shifts.

As I noted in the webinar, the pandemic is teaching us that this is our generation’s Apollo 11 moment: It is the pharmaceutical industry’s chance to leverage state-of-the-art technologies and finally realize the incredible efficiencies they offer.

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