Imagine a world where we could ask questions and discover answers as part of the day-to-day work flow of patient care. Imagine a world where someone with a newly diagnosed condition could be quickly triaged and receive the optimal therapeutic approach.
Despite the fact that streamlined clinical research is not part of mainstream practice, there are signs of changes – changes that could signal a positive trend. Some stem from technological developments, while others relate to a shift in responsibility. For example, patient-based research that eliminates or reduces the need for physician visits is occurring in some settings through the use of wearables and electronic patient-reported outcomes.
These approaches can be effective in low-risk studies with proper attention to privacy, confidentiality and a virtual informed consent process. Increasing the research mindset in our approach to patient care is of little value unless we can assimilate and manage the vast amount of information from our studies – and build it into the decision-making process.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one answer, giving us a powerful platform to extend our ability to synthesize and interpret data. Increasing interoperability between and among medical health data systems will further extend our ability to access and combine large amounts of data, minimizing the need for de nova or repetitive data collection. The omics revolution, too, will build our understanding of disease to target potential preventative or therapeutic agents.
If we’re able to collect data in a standardized and repeatable fashion – with full sharing – AI could assist in creating predictive models and searching for “best match” candidates. Thinking differently can make a world of difference in the care and treatment of patients. As a biostatistician and clinical trialist, I believe that scientific rigor, elimination of bias, and minimization of variability are the research drivers that lead us to truth. Thinking differently should not mean sacrificing these principles.
"As a research community, we must embrace innovation to bring better treatments to people faster."- - Dr. Anne Lindblad, President & CEO - Emmes