Three Keys to Realize a Real-Time Data Ecosystem in Clinical Research
Advanced technology alone does not deliver actionable insights. Here’s how to level up your data strategy.
In clinical research, access to timely, curated data is critical to mitigate risk and drive operational effectiveness. The reliable flow of data is also foundational in creating advanced artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Still, sponsors frequently cite access to timely data as a top concern, and realizing the benefits of real-time and near-real-time data often remains a challenge in practice.
A real-time data ecosystem must be built around three core components: the right people, the right tools and the right solutions.
All data are not created equal. Vast seas of data are generated and consumed throughout a pharmaceutical product’s life cycle, and the data must go through a rigorous process of linkage, refinement, building and sharing to underpin actionable analysis. For sponsors, this means their data needs should go beyond mere technology. The ideal data ecosystem requires expert design by a partner with deep knowledge of the desired outcomes, as well as the experience to execute reliably, effectively and efficiently.
The benefits of an advanced, real-time data ecosystem include:
- Unlocking insights and dashboards that surface signals and reveal risks more quickly
- Blending and consuming of data in a simple and efficient manner
- Sharing and accessing data with advanced tools via a state-of-the-art data lake (surpassing simple file extracts)
- Leveraging a cohesive, analytics-ready environment built to power decision support and AI applications at the speed of business
Here are three critical components to building an actionable, real-time data ecosystem that powers your clinical research.
1. Expertise to easily assimilate diverse data systems and anticipate gaps.
One common challenge for clinical trial sponsors is coordination of data across an array of vendors and systems. The process is often hyper-local with implementations that are unique to specific sites’ needs; as clinical trials increase in complexity, the number of vendors and partners only continues to grow.
Having a partner that has integrated data across multiple clinical, operational, quality and financial systems from multiple vendors goes a long way in shortening your path to generating meaningful insights. Our experience integrating the full scope of data generated by trials and combining the data into solutions — such as user-friendly dashboards and data marts — equips our clients with a holistic view of their study and portfolio.
We do this by leveraging our experience curating data across more than 20,000 sites to anticipate gaps, maximize data quality and efficiently structure data into our data lake. This deep expertise further enables us to anticipate the ancillary services that clients may need to enhance their datasets.
A good data partner will streamline the process of working across the complex array of system and technology vendors — whether it be navigating usage agreements, understanding integration, managing service level agreements (SLAs) or beyond. The PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific brings this to the table along with ready-built designs, whether to tokenize data or link to real-world data, so that our clients can skip drawn-out setup activities.
2. High-tech tools that are built to work together, not in siloes.
Imagine having data insights at your fingertips as soon as they’re extracted from source systems. Better yet, imagine if you had flexible access to data with direct and indirect data sharing between your provider and your own data team — right when you need it — to take control of your data and enable integration directly back into your systems.
Thanks to our investment in our state-of-the-art cloud data lake, data factory and flexible data models, we provide this deep level of data access and service to our clients. The use of common data models reduces the time needed to analyze and structure data, making it readily available for dashboards, applications and solutions leveraging AI. The data is also normalized and curated to ensure data flowing from the lake into downstream solutions is meaningful and of high quality.
The result is a system that offers frictionless data ingestion from any source, at scale, and actionable, timely insights that enable you to make more informed decisions.
3. Innovative, and intuitive data-driven solutions.
Good technology, flexibility, throughput and a proficient team aren’t enough to realize the benefits of a real-time data ecosystem — to deliver data on time and in the right way, you must also understand the processes being measured. Our data solutions benefit from a design informed by experts with real-world experience in clinical trials.
Across a study, data is often unwieldy, and sponsors must be able to track real-time results to validate or adjust their strategies. As such, it’s advantageous to have a clinical research partner committed to continual investment and transformation in data capabilities — from smart integrations to applications in data visualization and data science.
Your data partner should also think beyond the data silo. For example, by investing in our data ecosystem, we create a single source of truth across multiple aspects of trial data, which flows into elegant dashboards that easily toggle across KPIs and topics, presenting new insights simpler and faster than siloed alternatives. Our approach and position as a contract research organization (CRO) partner also ensure consistency by enabling both study teams and sponsors to access, review or share the same data on the same dashboards and platforms.
Finally, to fully realize the benefits of a real-time data ecosystem, you need a data partner with the know-how and agility to apply machine learning (ML) and AI solutions to solve the specific and evolving needs of our industry. Whether it’s predicting site enrollment or applying AI to the contracting process, a strong data partner with in-house AI capabilities will deliver value throughout the trial life cycle by leveraging data-driven innovation to both sponsor-facing and optimization solutions.
We encourage you to think beyond simple data silos toward integrated data solutions catered to your needs. At the PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific, our customers’ feedback and requirements drive our real-time data solutions. Don’t be afraid to bring us your problems and put us to the test.
The sponsors that stay ahead of the curve do so by working with a partner that understands that a real-time data ecosystem stands on more than just a collection of technology — and serves as more than just an outlet for stats and figures. The difference between basic data capabilities and robust, actionable data is made possible when you bring together rich data solutions with the industry’s best data and scientific minds.
It’s a difference you see when a one-of-a-kind integrated ecosystem has the power to make a meaningful impact across every aspect of your study. It’s the difference that comes from understanding your unique data needs and meeting those needs with a tailored approach. It’s the difference when artificial intelligence is up-leveled by human intelligence.