The cheerful skies of sunny San Diego offered a fitting background at this year’s Drug Information Association (DIA) Annual Meeting, where conversation centered around the promise of a bright future in the world of healthcare technology. The event reminded us yet again of the impressive strides our colleagues in medical research are making in the worlds of AI and drug development. As a result, our excitement grew with each presentation.
It’s no wonder that DIA is the largest, longest-running healthcare conference of its caliber. An invitation to this globally significant event allows attendees to collaborate with leading companies to exchange ideas, solve problems, and make progress. While companies presented on a wide breadth of topics, three key motifs characterized the 2019 DIA conference. We left thinking about AI, the importance of collaboration, and patient engagement.
Act I: Dream Date-a
Across industries, conversations about new AI technologies mention one word time and time again: Data. Data collection, data translation, data efficiency—the list goes on.
In the healthcare industry, a telling example of the importance of data is med tech’s ever-growing dependence on it. Case in point: Biotel’s ePatch holter. While wearable technology was all the rage in San Diego, we were especially impressed by this cardiac patch monitor developed for use in clinical trials. The ePatch holter’s goal is to continuously collect Electrocardiogram (ECG) data.
The innovators at Biotel created the ePatch holter after identifying a fault among many wearable ECG monitors. Namely, patients often remove the device as a result of discomfort or inconvenience. Biotel’s adaptable data-collection-powerhouse can self-correct to adjust to a patient’s needs. When the adhesive backing loses adhesiveness, it can easily be replaced. Moreover, if the patient experiences skin irritation, s/he can replace the device with an electrode to give the skin relief without disrupting data collection.
In short: As drug developers like Biotel continue to innovate, they require increasingly high volumes of high-quality data to fuel these life-changing clinical trials.
Act II: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Experts are calling this the Age of Big Data—and with big data comes big responsibility. That’s where we come in. One of Lionbridge’s main offerings is data collection and annotation. Our AI team helps companies collect, annotate, validate, and use data to fuel their AI systems. We work with companies across industries that are creating some of the world’s most cutting-edge technology.
Further, our AI services team can collaborate with clients to collect and organize data for companies that, like Biotel, need huge volumes of it to fuel exciting new algorithms. In an interview for the DIA newsletter, Harbour Biomed CEO Jingsong Wang says one of the most critical implications of the evolving healthcare tech industry is the increasing need for support and collaboration from multiple team players. In other words, the companies that are manufacturing these “life-saving medicines and technologies” have enough to focus on without worrying about data collection, or in the case of drug development, medical content translation. Especially in the fast-growing world of AI and drug innovation, the phrase “many hands make light work” thus becomes more than just a suggestion—it becomes a necessity.
Act III: Patient-Centricity Drives Engagement
What common thread unites the many different attendees of DIA 2019? The answer lies at the root of what motivates them: Patients. For all involved in the healthcare industry, the joy of directly affecting the health and happiness of real people around the world drives much of their work. Thus, patient prioritization is inherent and non-negotiable. That’s a trend we’ve seen in all areas of healthcare. For example, it’s a main driver of the EU’s new requirement that clinical trial sponsors draft plain language summaries of clinical trial results. In so doing, trial participants and the general public can more easily understand what happened in a given trial.
Moreover, patient-centricity has even prompted design and engineering changes in medical devices. Take a second look at the Biotel ePatch holter, for example. This wearable ECG monitor addresses a frustrating patient problem: skin irritation from the monitor. Biotel altered the mechanism so it included a small electrode that would allow the irritated skin a much-needed break. Biotel recognized that by making its tool more comfortable for patients, it would become more successful.
At Lionbridge, we are motivated by that same “customer-first” mindset. We constantly question how we can use our role in the process to improve healthcare services for end users. Events like DIA help us keep abreast of the newest innovations in drug innovation—and reinforce our understanding of how we can help.
Our job is to provide behind-the-scenes support that trailblazers of the healthcare technologies industry need to thrive. Want to learn more about how we can support you? Check out our services and discover how we can be your compliance partner.
Thanks to the incredible privilege we had of attending the 2019 DIA global thinktank, we caught a glimpse of the forecast in the year to come. And simply put: it’s far from cloudy.
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