Making Sense of Data Management in a Digital World

The incredible invention of social media and other Web-based technologies has transformed our personal lives in ways we really don’t have to think about anymore.  Need to get in touch with a long-lost friend? A distant relative? An old colleague? Devote five minutes on the Internet and it’s usually done, thanks to all kinds of digital resources. As recently as 10 years ago, however, this task would have been drastically more complicated—that’s how fast technology has radically changed the way we live.

The same thing is happening in the life sciences, though in much more complex ways and with far greater implications for scientific companies. We already are aware of how the science business in general has changed, prompting leading companies such as Pfizer, Roche, and Astra-Zeneca to reevaluate the way they operate, transforming some processes, especially in the collection and use of data, in innovative and highly productive ways. Whereas once these companies used to be considered traditional pharmaceutical organizations that produced the most important therapies of our time, they now have evolved even further into commercial health care providers. As a result, they are now able to  cater to practically every health care trend—from personalized medicine to consumer products to other forms of life-enhancing products—all with a more watchful eye on safety, feedback, and compliance information. As challenging as this new way of operating continues to be, the welcomed byproduct is that these companies, by necessity, have had to lead the way in being equally personalized and innovative about gathering and analyzing the data required to accomplish their lofty goals. If these companies aren’t already well into the process of doing so, they are all certainly headed in the direction of making it easier for patients and research subjects to participate proactively in the health care discussion in much the same way that all of us would participate in a personal discussion with a friend through a variety of social networks.

These open lines of communication— where once they were closed due to regulatory norms, lack of technology, and fear of the unknown— are now positively affecting a great many across the scientific spectrum, from academic research and crowd-sourcing think tanks to the companies that sponsor clinical trials and the patients who will reap the benefits of life-enhancing treatments and even right down the line to the governmental bodies tasked with regulating product safety and effectiveness claims.

Read more at Lab Manager Magazine