Develop. Innovate. Advance. DIA 2016

Author: Justin

Biotaware was recently at the DIA 2016 in Philadelphia! We got to learn more about the innovative healthcare tech industry and how it will move forward. We have consolidated our notes and thoughts on the one-week event in this post, written by over very own CEO, Justin Johnson. Read on to gain insights on his views and what was presented at the congress.

DIA 2016 is a large global interdisciplinary event that brings together key thought leaders and innovators from industry, academia, regulatory and government agencies, health, patient and philanthropic organisations from around the globe. It brings together all disciplines involved in the discovery, development, and life cycle management of health care products.

I travelled to attend event this which was being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States during the end of June. The DIA main event takes place over four days and occupies a large floor footprint, this year in the Pennsylvania convention centre. The central space is typically taken up by large impressive stands from key players in the sector such as Oracle, Medidata, Transcelerate, ERT, CRF Health, and Paraxel. Smaller companies naturally take smaller booths around the edge of the main floor space.

My main focus at DIA, besides face to face meetings with some of our existing clients, is to get a good gauge of the use of technology solutions in different parts of the pharmaceutical eco system. There’s no question, the majority of stands and booths clearly show that much of the sector is supported and driven by technological solutions. Although reportedly many clinical trials are still being administrated with paper, it’s generally well accepted that there are significant benefits to managing trials using dedicated computer document and database storage platforms and systems.

The most recent wave of technology utilisation in the space has come in the form of smartphones and tablets as a means to capture data and interface with clinical trial patients directly thus minimising manual paper work, reducing errors and – if designed accordingly – increasing adherence and engagement with patients. This year I got the impression that such electronic clinical outcomes assessment (eCOA) mobile solutions were becoming well accepted and embraced by the sector but with plenty of opportunity remaining for further growth.

The latest technological advancement comes in the form of wearables and smart connected sensor devices. In the consumer space there is a large market of wearable devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone. Such devices are now being used in some clinical trials and research environments in order to collect data points relating to activity and so on. Whilst it is early days for the use of such devices in clinical trials, I anticipate a much faster adoption of these devices in the coming years compared to the time it took for eCOA to get traction.

Although the pharmaceutical and clinical trial space is notorious for slow adoption (rightly so due to the nature of the work), technological progress has an exponential growth tendency in play. Currently these devices connect to mobile devices in order to transmit data and have it delivered to backend data systems in the cloud. With the progressive adoption of mobile devices these wearables and sensor devices already have an in-road. If trials are already using mobile devices, it’s not a huge leap to start connecting other wearables and sensor devices in order to provide valuable extra data points.

Whilst eCOA certainly has gained traction and is quite evident at DIA, wearables and connected sensor devices are still in the fringe. I strongly view that this is going to change rapidly over the next year or two and, as we have considerable expertise in this area, I’ll make sure we are at hand to embrace the opportunities that emerge.

Post by:

Justin Johnson

CEO, Biotaware Ltd

Thank you to the organisers of the event and to everyone we've met. It was definitely great to learn from everyone who attended and we're looking forward to meeting with you again next year!

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