It is a complex science to analyse the volumes of diverse data and to generate robust findings from these real-world trials. Elaine works with physicians, scientists, statistician, and insights gathered from patients to design studies that compile data gathered during patients’ routine appointments and analyse them to draw meaningful conclusions to understand both an individual patient’s experience with a medicine and how the medicine can perform for patients around the world.
There are of course challenges to running real-world studies. Including many different types of patients means the data collected is varied, and doctors might change the medicines a patient is taking as part of their usual care. All this makes the data harder to analyse. Also, the logistics of running a real-world study at the time medicines are newly available across different countries where usual treatment may differ is tough. “But,” said Elaine. “The reward lies in the potential for real-world evidence to lead to a much better understanding of the tangible real-world benefits of our medicines for patients.”
From real-world studies to personalised medicine
After 50 years of research and development in respiratory medicine, our Value Evidence and Outcomes team plans to build on our experience doing real-world studies and apply our knowledge to other therapy areas; remaining at the forefront of real-world research.
Indeed, we believe that real-world evidence will play an increasingly important role in the future of healthcare, particularly as it moves towards more personalised medicine, or precision medicine, where medical decisions are made based on individual patient characteristics.
For example, real-world data obtained from large groups of diverse patients via medical records or wearable devices may help identify characteristics – other medications, alcohol consumption, diet etc – that determine how well a person responds to a medication. This could then inform prescribing choices for individual patients.
As the importance of real-world evidence grows, the expertise of people like Elaine and her team will ensure that we maintain scientific rigour in the way data is collected, while harnessing the value of real-world data.
“For me,” said Elaine. “The whole reason for coming into the pharmaceutical industry was so that my research was translating into something that helps people.”