Reuters Pharma 2023: The Promise and Limitations of RWD
Todd Somsel, Commercial Lead, RWD Marketplace
As I reflect on the 2023 edition of the Reuters Pharma conference in Philadelphia last week, I continue to be motivated by the excitement behind the many uses of real-world data (RWD) and the large number of data and service providers growing their offerings in this space. At the same time, the RWD landscape remains tremendously challenging, which threatens to limit the true potential of this rich data source.
In the commercial track, teams are heavily focused on the use of RWD, in combination with HCP insights, to drive their precision omnichannel promotional efforts. The use of RWD allows pharma to identify the HCPs that are managing their target patients and understand the patient and their journey at a more granular level that informs the right content to use for those omnichannel engagements. Some leading companies are going so far as to use the same data to track the impact of their omnichannel engagements - not only through Rx but also through earlier diagnosis and treatment of their target patients.
Medical teams are taking the lead from their commercial counterparts in using RWD to tailor their omnichannel HCP educational efforts based on deep understanding of the HCPs and their patients. As part of this, medical teams are using RWD to help identify health disparities in patient care, which can help them tailor their educational messages to HCPs. The medical function is also going further to use RWD to measure the unmet medical need for their disease areas and the medical impact on the patients’ journeys based on their educational efforts.
Market Access teams are interested in bringing RWD to their payer stakeholders to help communicate the value of their treatments for a broader set of patients than what they have insights into from their clinical trials. This includes engaging with payers early on, often prior to launch, to understand what patient populations and endpoints are of interest, as well as whether there is an opportunity for value-based contracting using the RWD.
With all this excitement around the use of RWD, plenty of challenges were presented at the Reuters conference that threaten to limit the value of this data. The data itself was often described as highly fragmented, putting challenges on data and analytics teams to create a holistic view of the patient and their journey. There was also a lot of concern about the varying quality and representativeness of the data, leading to difficulties in finding the right sources. Added to this, it was clear that the effective use of RWD requires cross-functional collaboration around process and resources and a variety of targeted skill sets to identify, process, interpret, and integrate the RWD into existing processes and applications.
The Path Forward
All in all, we need to continue to knock down the obstacles impeding RWD's true potential in the pharmaceutical industry. We must bring forward data offerings that provide a more holistic view of a patient. And those data offerings need to be robust enough to support a broad range of cross-functional use cases while also representative of the true population of patients that have the disease. We need to be proactive and transparent in communicating what to expect from those data offerings, both the strengths and the gaps. And with pharma continuing to centralize their data licensing activities, we should expect that the demands for increased transparency will quickly identify those providers that are set to create real value for the pharma industry.