Power BI Insights for C-Suite from Microsoft MegaExpert Belinda Allen – Part 2

In this second part of our series with Microsoft Power BI Certified MVP executive strategist, Belinda Allen, she shared deep insight with us about how Power BI can elevate your pharma company and provide enhanced efficiency for C-level executives.

We asked her two questions about Power BI below, here’s what she had to say:

What are some of the biggest advantages that come with using Power BI?

Not only does the product come with a low cost of entry, but it is also easy to use for the person consuming reports and it’s very easy to share data. Along with that comes built-in Microsoft ability. The fact that Microsoft has sister-like areas to Power BI, such as machine learning and AI, C-level executives can take advantage of utilizing the other areas and bring them into Power BI.

Power BI also has Bing technology built in it, and natural query language that can have us go in and ask questions from our data and the answers come back in the form of a visual (a chart, a graph, a table, etc.). That’s just insanely powerful! And it’s something that we’re used to, it’s a natural progression for people, it’s called Q&A. Another advantage is the quick analysis of the Power BI service. The quick analysis goes through the data and it looks for trends and outliers to those trends.

Now, it doesn’t know what the data is, it doesn’t know, and it doesn’t care. It just picks the data and it looks for trends and outliers and then it provides you with a report of various visuals based on what was found. I’m going to admit, if you’re familiar with your data then you’re going to look at the visuals and not be surprised by the trends and outliers, but there’s often this golden nugget of information in there that you didn’t expect to get – you didn’t expect to see, and you never even thought about before.

I think one of the biggest advantages is being able to take advantage of and leverage other Microsoft products with Power BI. Another advantage of Power BI is the ability to take advantage of Microsoft’s Power Platform – Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate (formerly named Flow). With this Power Platform, instead of doing all the work in various places you can do everything in one integrated location.

One of the things I love about it is you can literally do it from your iPad. So, if the person is out of the office, they can log in and approve/reject or make any adjustments to reports. You can build some custom apps that can have pharma sales reps retrieving data from a CRM system – Dynamics 365, and with the app in there as well you can have it write back to Dynamics 365 and give information out that way to pharma sales reps while they are on the road.

Also, from the marketing point of view, you can go through and monitor tweets. For example, any tweet that uses a certain hashtag you specify can be stored in an excel file in OneDrive and that way I have all my tweets stored and can run my sentiment analysis on them.

What Are Some Challenges that Power BI can Help Large Pharma Companies Overcome?

One of the biggest things is that you can reduce the chain of command to get information. So, you don’t have to ask different people to have that information funneled back up to you. The fact that you can get access to information very quickly is invaluable.

Another thing is the ability to attach comments to reports that can be accessed from any device and location. You can specifically ask questions in real-time from your device while out of the office and have the answers delivered to you immediately. Reducing the chain of command to request information and retain information is one of the biggest ways you can generate efficiency because you’re getting it right away.

Another advantage Power BI offers C-level executives is that this efficiency is forcing the line-level employees to enter data in a timely manner. So, it’s an electronic tattle tale device if you will. If we want to know what is going on in real-time, we must have everything in on time because we are only going to be able to analyze what’s already in the data.

It’s forcing people to do their work much more quickly and to stay current with it which is only going to provide faster information in the long and short run. Pharma sales reps can use the cloud when they are out of the office and they can do a quick analysis of reports when they are selling to a physician. To be able to quickly analyze trends and other data right before entering the door to speak with a physician is invaluable to pharma companies commercially.

There’s also the ability to analyze the status of making their payments. Power BI includes the approval of reports and that’s where the access to the sister Power Apps can help as well. The main advantage with Power BI and the Power Apps is requesting information, so if the information is already in. Instead of C-level executives having to go to other people for reports, the reports can instantly be shared with them including relevant data.

A lot of companies in the past would have challenges with “closing the books” because a lot of employees would allow work to stack up on their desk. Now, if you’re accessing data as it’s collected, you’re asking questions about that data as it is in real-time in the system – and that changes the whole world for the people who must get the data into the system.

Real-time data is a major way Power BI can reduce costs because you can find out what’s going on in the moment. It also doesn’t have to be just an email that goes out with a Flow, using Power Automate. Once it sees that alert has been activated in Power BI, it can do other things as well. You can have it update something inside of a CRM system, update a to-do list activity, and more!

It can do these types of things in conjunction with each other as well as going off the alert that was activated in Power BI. So, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, it can be an entire change of events that occur from that alert. If costs are going up dramatically, you can see that and find out what’s causing it and you can monitor those trends as you’re going along.

The fact that the monitoring of communications becomes an automated process, it’s much more efficient and much timelier. It can also be something that might be happening over the weekend when nobody might be working so the data collecting in real-time can be ongoing constantly. While employees are no longer being used to monitor communications with the help of Power BI, you can now utilize those same employees for more pressing tasks that can help generate more sales.

We are proud to be a partner with Belinda to provide her insight into the C-level application of Power BI strategies, changing the methodology of business in the life sciences. Stay tuned for the next release of insight from Belinda. 

Belinda Allen is a Microsoft Certified Power BI MVP and Gold Level Trainer; she is also the Business Intelligence Program Manager for PowerGP Online. She has excelled in assisting partners and customers to implement and create BI methodologies, enabling businesses like yours to make high-quality decisions based on real-time and accurate information. You can find out more at http://www.saci.com/.

If you would like to learn about our Data Analytics solution which includes Power BI technology and how it can help your Pharma company, click below!

4 Ways Technology Can Optimize Clinical Trial Workflows

4 Ways Technology Can Optimize Clinical Trial Workflows

In 2003, the cost to fully develop an FDA approved drug was $803 million. Now, however, that price has skyrocketed up to 2.6 billion and there have been no signs of this rate slowing down!

Unfortunately, while the price to develop drugs have increased, the rate of clinical trial success has decreased by about 12% in this span.

Therefore, this results in ever-increasing pressure to increase efficiency and reduce costs of clinical trials, which can be a major catch-22.

Site directors and managers are fighting an uphill battle to minimize complexity, ensure compliance, and streamline clinical trial processes.

On the other hand, there’s still a practical, regulatory, and ethical obligation to ensure data accuracy and scientific validity.

Clinical trial workflows – or the series of repeatable tasks required to finish a trial – are essential for effectiveness, reliability, and efficiency.

Women using advanced technology for organizing data.

Automation and workflow technologies help improve workflows…

…but they also may be challenging to implement. What you need to think is, will this all be worth it? The answer is yes.

After all, the majority of pharma companies don’t have in-house teams of software developers ready to take on the challenge of designing workflows which actually keep costs down and reduce complexity.

There are also stringent privacy and regulatory expectations that can impact pharma trials’ priorities.

Still, if they can be merged with existing systems, automated workflows eliminate repetitive, and manually intensive processes.

This simplifies data gathering and analysis, improves communications and productivity levels, and facilitates accurate tracking and reporting on process steps and completion dates.

In order to achieve these benefits, pharma companies will need to break through some of the above barriers sooner than later!

Team members in a meeting using advanced technology.

Here Are 4 Ways Technology Can Optimize Clinical Trial Workflows

Trials generate enormous amounts of data. This information is key to identifying operational bottlenecks and generating insights into how current processes could improve.

But to make use of it, pharma companies need to be able to see it, analyze it and put it into action.

Despite the emergence of digital technology in pharma, many companies still lean heavily on paper documentation or traditional tools such as manually created spreadsheets to manage information and patient records.

There are plenty of problems with this traditional approach, including:

  • Not fast enough.
  • It’s historical. (i.e. you can only use it to examine data from the past, or that has already been recorded and stored)
  • It’s prone to user error, inaccuracies, and data loss.
  • It’s harder to share with all stakeholders – you’ll need to configure access to online databases, ensure version control, or deal with paper copies. (none of which are ideal)

Software that can automate record-keeping processes and keep track of systematic workflows doesn’t just save time short term but they also make it easier to make good business decisions that affect the entire pharma life cycle.

To be more specific, here are 4 areas in which it’s possible to use digital emerging technology to cut costs, reduce information solos, and take advantage of automation to make clinical trial workflows more effective.

Device for reaching out to physicians for pharma sales reps.

1. Systematizing Trial Startup and Site Selection

Site selection and study startup are among the slowest and least efficient phases of clinical trial management.

Country selection, site selection, budgeting and contracting, regulatory constraints, and finding enrolling participants all take significant effort and time.

Automation can support study startup planning by outlining systematic tasks in order of urgency. Workflows can be designed based on country-specific regulations as well as individual sites, roles, and activities.

Technology can also be used to recruit patients. For example, one study found that a workflow could be designed to flag potentially eligible patients from routine health information system data in a hospital setting.

To name a few more examples:

  • Process automation can create an automatically updated virtual calendar where upcoming documentation needs to streamline trial startup procedures.
  • Databases can help automatically identify investigators with previous sponsor relationships and identify whether additional documentation of finances, licensing, and other disclosures are up-to-date.
  • Analytics and CTMS platforms can also assemble and visualize data from multiple sites at once, providing organizers and sponsors with accurate, real-time information on site performance.

A study found that inefficiencies often arise from the difficulty of measuring and predicting site performance early on during a trial, software that can identify low-performing sites can also help prioritize investigator time.

Allowing investigators to shut down unproductive sites early, or recommend monitors to visit high-risk sites over others, could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted time and energy.

Physician going through data for making decisions.

2. Reducing Repetitive Tasks and Eliminating Bottlenecks

Clinical trials involve lots of workers, many of whom are highly-skilled, MD or Ph.D. – level researchers. Their time is expensive, and when it is primarily spent conducting the same tasks repeatedly, it ends up being wasted.

Common tasks of theirs include creating contracts, processing adverse event notifications and follow-ups, recording patient information, or drafting protocols.

Clinical trial site staff and investigators also often spend significant time inputting data into CRO systems with vastly differing systems for reporting AEs/SAEs and other data.

Although not all of these tasks can be automated, many of them can.

One immediate benefit of optimizing workflows with technology is through standardizing digital tasks, and automating some of the data captures. For example, scheduling patient repeat visits automatically or automatically populating patient data into the online record.

Workflow automation can also generate standardized contracts drafts to replace having to manually rewrite them for each trial. Other tools can compare patient records with previous entries to identify missing data points and potential errors in real-time.

While there’s an initial hurdle to get over when it comes to implementing a solution to do this, automating these tasks saves both effort and cost. When done well, they also reduce compliance errors and eliminate unnecessary delays.

Team of sales reps in a meeting using advanced analytics.

3. Improving Visibility and Business Decision-Making

Clinical trials are, first and foremost, designed to produce information.

To support this goal cost-effectively, all operational processes must be designed for optimal workflow and efficiency, so that:

  • Trials proceed on schedule.
  • All staff roles are defined and well-understood.
  • Important projects and tasks don’t get forgotten.
  • Resources are prioritized effectively and directed at the correct tasks.
  • Process inefficiencies are identified and eliminated.
  • Bottlenecks are removed.

In order for sponsors to achieve these goals, managers need tools to see how trials are progressing and analyze this information in real-time.

Armed with good information, they can address problems as soon as they emerge and allocate limited resources effectively. This requires deep analysis of performance across multiple areas and roles in a trial, from regulatory compliance to site selection, patient recruitment, and daily data collection activities.

Unlike previous traditional tools, which only facilitate analysis after-the-fact, pharma analytics software allows forecasting and immediate visibility of all trial processes. A single workflow program can accomplish this goal.

For example, by segregating and analyzing raw data under a single platform, our pharma data analytics solution lays out everything in a clear and concise way to allow your team to more efficiently do their job.

Using a technological tool to align your daily work with the most important objectives in the study leads ultimately to more efficient work, better enrollment, higher retention, and higher compliance rates – and in the end, that results in faster and more cost-efficient clinical trials.

Artificial Intelligence being used for actual business insight.

4. Regulatory Compliance & Study Validity

Approximately 35% of clinical research costs are spent on compliance.

Meeting regulatory constraints on the first try, rather than after trial and error, significantly lowers this cost and can shorten a trial’s timeline.

Data-driven strategies using analytics and other tools can help improve quality outcomes by eliminating compliance issues.

Data standardization – created through designing effective workflows – is also key to ensuring the reliability of the overall trial, particularly when trials go global.

You are much better off in a Medicare or financial audit when you design workflows that collect data along the way and then organize that data logically whenever the workflow is finished.

When paperwork gets lost or forgotten on someone’s desk, or there are errors in recording it, audit inspections can be delayed, leading to further headaches.

In contrast, when your data are organized and reported within a single software-based source, the auditing process is faster and far less painful for all involved. An advanced pharma CTMS software solution will keep track of anything from financial records through consent from the documentation.

Physician using tablet device.

Automation Removes Bottlenecks and Streamlines Workflows

The potential of digitizing and automating common pharma tasks is still in its infancy.

Pharma companies are often reluctant to change processes, given the challenges of adopting new technology to old regulations and strict compliance guidelines.

Still, in order to compete and counteract the skyrocketing price of developing new medications, reducing inefficiency and looking for ways to streamline clinical trial operations is unavoidable.

With the tools already out there, it’s already possible to:

  • No longer enter data and assign tasks associated with running a clinical trial manually or traditionally.
  • Identify and reduce the current bottlenecks relevant to your organization.
  • Create standardized workflows designed to make start-ups easier, eliminate delays, and implement study protocols faster.
  • Identify cost- and time-saving opportunities.
  • Improve visibility and streamline collaboration between team members.
  • Keep data gathering auditable and compliant with current regulations.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about our CTMS solution or our analytics and data management solution, contact us below for free!

4 Ways Pharma AI Enhances Medication Delivery Methods

Whether it was from movies, books, or on the internet, you’ve most likely heard of therm “Artificial Intelligence” or AI.

Maybe you know if it as nothing more than just a buzzword, but trust us when we say it is much more than just that. Especially in the pharma industry.

In 2018, the global AI market in healthcare was about $1.4 billion and it is expected to grow to approximately $17.8 billion by 2025.

This expected growth in healthcare shows how much of an impact the technology can have in various areas within the industry and its importance going forward.

So, what are the ways AI can be used in pharma and your company? One of the most popular ways you’ve probably heard about is with assisting in drug discovery. However, that’s not the only way AI can make be beneficial for pharma companies.

TIP: If you’re interested in learning more about the other ways AI is beneficial to your pharma company other than with drug discovery, check out this blog we created!

Another major area where AI is beneficial is with being paired with drug delivery methods to enhance outcomes.

4 Ways AI Can Enhance Medication Delivery Methods

  • Precision Medicine: Takes genetics into account to diagnose/treat and physicians can more precisely foresee how well patients will respond to specific treatments.
  • Virtual Nurse Assistants: Has the ability to lower the number of hospital visits that are labeled as unnecessary. This technology can provide patients with 24/7 access to support and monitoring, as well as the ability to receive answers to questions they may have about their medications very quickly.
  • Robotic Surgery: With artificial intelligence, robots can use data from operations done in the past to make decisions on new surgical procedures.
  • Health Monitoring Apps: AI-enabled health monitoring apps support individual patients with a step-by-step guide through the patient journey and provide HCPs with the data to help guide them. Wearable devices are another form of digital health that can track heart rate, activity, sleeping patterns, and more.

Below is an infographic displaying 4 different ways pharma AI can enhance medication delivery methods:

pharma ai

Also, if you’d like to learn about our Artificial Intelligence built on a Microsoft platform and how the technology can strongly benefit your pharma company, contact us below for free!

6 Reasons Why Advanced Analytics Is Essential In Pharma

It’s no secret that technology has had a major impact not only on our daily activities, but also on businesses in almost every industry.

The pharma industry, in particular, has seen major changes throughout many operations due to the implementation of technology.

Technology such as Artificial Intelligence has improved drug discovery while Cloud Computing has proven to be very beneficial with communication and storing files.

However, another type of technology that has been proven to be very beneficial is commercial pharma analytics.

According to Market Research Future, the global commercial pharma analytics market is expected to reach about $9 million by 2027.

While statistics such as the one above show evidence that analytics in pharma is in popular demand going forward, some may wonder, how exactly can you benefit from this technology?

Below are 6 key reasons why commercial pharma analytics is beneficial:

Advanced analytics on a laptop.

1. Efficient Drug Development

Pharma analytics have proven to be extremely beneficial when being used for drug development. The process of drug development is long and costly, as it can take up to 10 years to develop a single drug while costing billions of dollars.

According to a report by Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, it can cost up to $2.6 billion to fully develop a drug.

Advanced analytics enables drug development to run efficiently and effectively by being able to identify potential drug candidates that have a high potential for success and develop them quickly.

Also, patient data can be used to identify connections and patterns that help develop precision medicine.

Large data-sets from numerous sources ranging from clinical trials to patient health records and insurance claims to develop drugs suited for different populations can be used.

Medication out of a pill on a table.

2. Optimize Clinical Trials

Pharma analytics can be used to successfully optimize the efficiency of clinical trials. Not only are clinical trials expensive, but they are also very time-consuming.

The average cost of clinical trials for approved drugs was reported to be $19 million by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and it can even take up to 15 years to complete!

Using advanced analytics, you can reduce the costs of clinical trials and much less time-consuming by identifying the most appropriate patients to take part in the trial using various sources.

37% of clinical trials fail because they don’t have enough eligible patients.

The patients are vetted based on demographics, historical data, and complex criteria such as genetic makeup and individual characteristics. This way clinical trials can be run more efficiently and at a reduced cost.

Businesswoman using tablet and accessing different people.

3. Decision-Making

Decision-making is another area where advanced commercial pharma analytics can be very beneficial. As the trend towards data-driven decision-making gains momentum, it’s important for pharma companies to follow suit, or they’ll be left behind their competitors who are doing so!

With that being said, how can you possibly make the best decision if you’re not presented with the right options to choose from? That’s where pharma analytics come into play!

Pharma companies can use advanced analytics to attain insightful information on patients, market trends, and other relevant data to inform decision-making. They can make important decisions on drug development such as the type and amount of the drug to be developed.

Also, opportunities in the market can be identified and commercial activities can be monitored with pharma analytics. Prioritizing drugs is key and with this technology, you can establish the effectiveness of one drug compared to the other.

Combined with machine learning and artificial intelligence, advanced analytics help provide invaluable information that can make it much better for patients and improve health outcomes.

Many pharma companies embrace advanced analytics to improve decision-making with their budgeting.

You can use advanced analytics to identify areas in your supply chain that require improvements. It can be anything from streamlining the supply process to negotiating better rates and projecting future patient needs.

Remarkably, pharma analytics can help measure performance in relation to other competitors. The data obtained can be used to devise strategies to increase competitiveness and performance.

Female physician and female nurse discussing something on a tablet.

4. Cost Reduction

Advanced analytics provide you with the best resources and tools available to make the right decisions every time, which in the long run will save your pharma company a lot of money. Who wouldn’t want to save money?!

In an article by PA Consulting Group, a pharma client of theirs spent 75% of their sales efforts on tasks that weren’t viewed as a top 10 priority.

Spending valuable time on tasks that aren’t at the top of the list of priorities can result in wasted time and even increased costs! Thankfully, pharma analytics can help you choose the right tasks to complete in the correct order!

Pharma analytics not only can be used to reduce commercial costs, but clinical trials costs as well.

Implementing advanced analytics can reduce the cost of clinical trials by up to 15% according to McKinsey.

Making the right decision is a critical part of reducing costs. Advanced pharma analytics ensure you have the necessary tools presented in front of you to make the right decisions and increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Person putting money into a jar.

5. Increased Sales Growth

Sales growth is another key area where commercial pharma analytics can be very beneficial.

McKinsey Global Institute affirms that big data strategies have the potential to generate a value of $100 billion each year as a result of better decision-making, greater efficiency of clinical trials, and superior innovation.

You can use pharma analytics to identify opportunities in the market and capitalize on them. For example, using available data, you can determine patient populations that are undeserved and develop drugs for them.

According to a recent survey by WNS DecisionPoint, 71 percent of sales teams and 82 percent of marketing teams use analytics extensively.

6. Improving Collaboration

Traditionally, HCPs have been left out of patient health records. Pharmacists were only given pieces of paper with the required prescription.

This made it hard for HCPs to offer patients holistic and personalized care to the best of their ability.

However, with electronic health records (EHR), healthcare providers can collaborate to offer patients personalized care.

When HCPs have access to all of the patient information available, they can make more accurate recommendations on treatment options.

Also, pharma analytics provides better communication and collaboration between research groups, healthcare providers, insurers, regulators, and patients to offer patient-centric and additional care.

Person on their phone with their laptop open.

Making the decision to implement technology such as commercial pharma analytics is not an easy choice and we understand that! However, the benefits of this technology can elevate your pharma company to new levels!

To recap some of the benefits pharma analytics can provide your pharma company with, they are:

  • Efficient Drug Development
  • Optimize Clinical Trials
  • Assist in Decision-Making
  • Cost Reduction
  • Increased Sales Growth
  • Improved Collaboration

Also, if you’d like to learn more about our pharma analytics solution, contact us for free below!

Solutions For Improving Data Quality & Avoiding Delays From a Clinical Trial Site Manager

Laptop with clinical trials data

In all clinical trials, one of my ultimate goals is to obtain accurate, clean data as quickly and efficiently as possible – all while minimizing overall trial costs.  Although the trial data results are the end goal, I never want to sacrifice subject safety to get it. 

Subject safety is the reason we follow the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) and Good Clinical Practice (GCP).  Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are in place as a means of ensuring we follow ICH/GCP throughout the life of a clinical trial. 

To remove bias, third-party vendors monitor and verify clinical trial data.  It is this vendor, often a Clinical Research Organization (CRO), that is responsible for sending out Site Managers (SMs) to perform monitoring visits at all sites chosen to participate in the trial.  During these visits, SMs review source data for accuracy and completeness. 

SMs ensure that site staff have been compliant with the protocol, verify Principal Investigator trial oversight, perform drug accountability, verify documented site training and can work with the site staff to reconcile any discrepancies noted.  At the completion of a visit, the SM leaves the site as ‘audit-ready’ as possible.

As SMs have many responsibilities, it is easy to see that there are many ways in which trial data delays can occur.  As a former Lead SM and now a Clinical Operations Lead, I have learned that one of the most basic ways to lose time in a clinical trial is by having the monitoring visits occur out of the scheduling window. 

What is the Problem?

We can only rely on clinical trial data entered after a SM has verified it.  Therefore, it is crucial to have monitoring visits occur according to the timing schedule found in the Clinical Monitoring Plan (CMP) / Clinical Operations Plan (COP).  When these visits do not occur within the scheduling window of the CMP/COP, it leads to untimely source document verification (SDV). 

Untimely monitoring visits can create a multitude of problems during clinical trials.  In my experience, a delay in SDV has a negative chain effect.  Other clinical departments (i.e. Safety, etc.) are unable to perform their review until after the SM has performed SDV.

This prolongs the time it takes for overall trial data reconciliation.  The Data Management department may also spend an endless amount of time querying unverified/unclean data unnecessarily.  This is not just a poor use of time but can be a very costly endeavor for pharmaceutical/sponsor companies. 

During the SDV process, SMs often find unreported Adverse Events (AEs) and/or Serious Adverse Events (SAEs).  SAEs require reporting to the sponsor company and the IRB within specific timeframes.  As mentioned earlier, subject safety is my highest priority during any clinical trial. 

Therefore, prompt assessment and documentation of AEs and SAEs is a must.  If monitoring visits are not occurring according to the CMP/COP, I cannot ensure this.  Any delay in SDV can also lead to protocol deviations going unnoticed and possibly repeated for subsequent subjects at multiple subject visits. 

What is the Remedy?

In our very technologically savvy world, there is any number of calendar date generating applications and websites one can choose.  I have used the following website when I do not want to be relegated to the use of a ‘date wheel’:  https://timeanddate.com.

There is even an associated phone application for iOS called ‘Time & Date Calculator’.  Both the website and phone app require me to enter the date of the initial visit and then the number of weeks/days/months required in the interval.

Once I enter that information it will calculate when the next visit should occur.  If I need to create something more tangible for my SM team, I input a trial-specific formula into an Excel spreadsheet. 

This enables anyone on the clinical study team to generate the same information as the above-mentioned website, which is helpful when SMs need to forecast future monitoring visits. 

Whichever method is chosen, I know that I am creating a check and balance system that can minimize the timing of trial data available for further analyses.  CROs can use these measures to ensure that their employees are following the CMP/COP and to hold trial sites to their contractually agreed upon availability. 

Likewise, pharmaceutical/sponsor companies can use these methods to verify that a CRO is adhering to their contractual obligations for overall trial monitoring.  Most importantly, though, by finding a method that works best – it will aid in getting clean trial data submitted in a timely fashion.

If you would like to learn about our Clinical Trial Management System tool and how our solution can help solve problems such as this one, click below!

C-Level Analytics Strategies with PowerBI – Insight from Microsoft MegaExpert: Belinda Allen

Belinda-Allen-Power-BI-Article-Pt-2-Feat-Image-768x432

We sat down with Microsoft PowerBI Certified MVP and executive strategist, Belinda Allen – where she shared her insight on how enterprise application of Power BI is revolutionalizing business strategies.

This is the first part of a series with Belinda, focusing on tangible, actionable Power BI integration at the enterprise and executive levels.

During each part of this series, we are sharing two tidbits that we asked Belinda:

What is your definition of the CEO-level value-proposition of using Power BI?

“With the implementation of Power BI, C-value executives will have access to real-time analytics and knowing what is happening in the moment without having to ask anyone to provide them with updates, without having to guess on their own, and more importantly – they are no longer looking at what has happened in the past, but they can now dig into what is happening in the present to make the best decisions for the future.

We live in a world where disparate systems are a reality, and they probably will be a reality going forward while line-level managers are leveraging data. So, being able to create reports that integrate the data from multiple sources on to one common place and looking at it in real-time is something that prior to the world of Power BI dashboards was not possible or it took a long time for people to prepare reports and send to C-level executives.

The ability to look at information and make decisions quickly to look for trends, tracking data, and starting to use other resources that are available within the Microsoft family that provide intelligence and machine learning built-in is beyond invaluable for the CEO. 

One of the biggest advantages of using Power BI is there’s a low cost to entry and high return on investment. So, the low cost of entry the product that is relatively easy to use for the person consuming reports and it’s very easy to share data. It’s all about the efficiency in getting data, nobody wants to sit and wait on what’s going on. We all expect everything instant in today’s technology era – and Power BI can deliver that.”

How does Power BI feed the strategies that help the executive management of an organization and make enterprise decisions?

“Being able to use sentiment analysis along with financial numbers is becoming more and more important. Sentiment analysis monitors what people are saying on social media and reviews that are left on websites such as Yelp and if they’re showing that they’re happy with your company or not. We are living in the here and now, so if you have a bad experience with a company, you’re most likely going to tweet about it and companies can now capitalize on this information with some of the tools that take sentiment analysis and do that. 

The same is true when they’re looking at their CRM systems, being able to monitor what’s going on. Times have definitely changed, you can now create a correlation between complaints about your company and the revenue decreasing. Let’s say you have a ton of complaints about product “B”, you may want to see if there have been new sales for that particular product and if there is any correlation there. We don’t know what we don’t know! We have a tendency as human beings to look for data that supports our theories. 

So, if we can do some analysis that takes us out of trying to build something that just supports our theories – which is what we’ve always done with tools such as Excel (creating files to prove a theory of why we are going in that direction we are headed in), we can instead look at what the data is telling us. Being able to be more fluent and go with the trends using Power BI and sentiment analysis is just invaluable.

Microsoft’s Power Platform is also very beneficial and it consists of three products – Power BI, Power Apps, and Flow. Power Apps is a mini-app building tool that enables you to create an app to use on your desktop or on your phone and it can be something very complex that a developer would build or something more straightforward. And you build those out using the single functioning formulas similar to the way you do an excel spreadsheet. So, if you’re comfortable with Excel, you can build your own apps inside of Power Apps. I bring this up because you then can take something built-in Power Apps and put it inside your Power BI report. Or you can take Power BI visuals and put them inside your Power App. 

Then you can take advantage of a third product called Flow. It’s an integration tool or workflow tool – it’s a way to bridge things together between multiple applications. Let’s say you are in Dynamics 365 and somebody has a problem with your company. After a case has been resolved in Dynamics 365, Microsoft Flow can automatically send out a form and if someone responds saying no they weren’t satisfied then new questions can appear so you can drill down on the issue and if it’s an open-ended question which I completely recommend then whether or not the answer was positive or negative can be tracked and analyzed, so you can really get to the heart of the matter.

In days past, we would have to read all of the comments/answers to get an idea of what’s going on, now, Microsoft machine learning has the ability to go through all of that text automatically and assign based on shift in tense, all capital letters, and other signs of negativity. You can have this tool go through social media comments, YouTube comments, blog comments, etc. Or, let’s say one of your employees creates an alert using Flow, and if that alert gets activated, then I want it to send an email to the CEO of the head of sales and maybe three other specific people and I want it to include a link to a specific report or visual – and you can do that automatically with Flow. You can even set parameters where if the number being analyzed is less than a certain value, the alert can only be sent to certain people. Or if it’s a value greater than you can send it to everybody.” 

We are proud to be a partner with Belinda to provide her insight into the C-level application of Power BI strategies, changing the methodology of business in the life sciences. Stay tuned for the next release of insight from Belinda. 

Belinda Allen is a Microsoft Certified PowerBI MVP and Gold Level Trainer, she is also the Business Intelligence Program Manager for PowerGP Online. She has excelled in assisting partners and customers to implement and create BI methodologies, enabling businesses like yours to make high-quality decisions based on real-time and accurate information. You can find out more at http://www.saci.com/.

If you would like to learn about our Data Analytics solution which includes Power BI technology and how it can help your Pharma company, click below!

5 Use Cases for Commercial Pharma AI Beyond Drug Discovery

Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short, has been one of those buzzwords that’s been circulating throughout the healthcare industry. Most recently, it has been widely considered to be extremely beneficial for drug discovery and in clinical trials.

However, that’s just a very small aspect of the total benefit that pharma AI can bring to the table for the pharma and biotech industries.

According to a study by Accenture, pharma AI can potentially create $150 billion in savings for the United States healthcare economy by 2026. 

Constantly hearing about the incredible benefits of AI while still not fully understanding what it can do and how it can help can be very frustrating and often deter companies from embracing it.

Artificial intelligence business man.

Before we dive into AI and its benefits, let’s briefly go over its definition:

AI consists of various computer systems and predefined algorithms with the ability to perform tasks that normally require advanced human intelligence. 

Some of these tasks include:

  • Visual Perception
  • Speech Recognition
  • Decision-Making
  • Translation Between Languages

The idea of “human versus machine” has been replaced with “human + machine” and if that just piqued your interest, it should. Pharma AI has entered the beginning of a golden age, and it is expanding into everything from manufacturing to marketing trends.

You may have wondered how patients feel about receiving AI-enabled healthcare?

54% of patients are willing to receive AI-enabled care. 

With over half of patients in favor of AI-enabled healthcare, it shows how far AI has already come in the pharma industry.

Now, will incorporating AI alone suddenly result in millions in revenue right away.

No. 

However, when AI is paired with the right tools and platforms such as Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite and pharma-specific solutions, the results will begin to show quickly.

Woman looking at a medical interface in the hospital

So, How Can Commercial Pharma AI Be Used Beyond Drug Discovery 

1. Targeted Content Delivery in Marketing

The pharma industry has come a long way since the traditional methods of marketing blockbuster drugs, thanks in large part to the integration of AI and other state-of-the-art technology.

With the addition of pharma AI, huge amounts of raw data can be collected, sorted, and interpreted in real-time. Due to this, pharma AI has the ability to improve your commercialization in some key ways:

  • Marketing Strategies
  • Product Launch
  • Product Value Proposition
  • Customer Engagement

In the past, general marketing strategies have worked because the drugs that they were selling had an impact on a large population of patients all at once, otherwise known as blockbuster drugs.

Now, with the rise of a more patient-centric approach within the industry, pharma companies need to market in a more targeted and specific way.

Unfortunately, the traditional pharma marketing systems can no longer be successful in this new pharma because they’re both sluggish and inaccurate.

With pharma AI, on the other hand, pharma companies can aggregate, process, and convert massive amounts of unstructured and difficult to manage data sources to gain rich insight into how consumers are making decisions.

By implementing the right algorithms paired with a powerful analytics solution, data can not only be accessed but can also be used to precisely target consumers who are most in need of your product or service.

“Using data intelligently to power go-to-market strategies has to be a priority if commercial teams want to stay ahead of the competition and increase both their REACH and their PRECISION.” – Dr. Dolores Baksh, GE Healthcare Life Sciences

Success in pharma marketing often requires a lot of complex decision-making, which can get overwhelming and stressful very quickly. Thankfully, pharma AI can provide your company with data analytics to reduce stress, save time, and deliver high-quality results!

“AI-powered analytics is perfect for pharma marketing departments because it can undertake large volumes of complex decisions by going through data-sets at a high degree of accuracy.” – Sudeep Pattnaik, CEO, ThoughtSpace 

The end result is a solid marketing foundation that allows you to target the right consumers or population leading to a better commercialization and pharma marketing strategy.

Doctor using phone and laptop for marketing.

2. Manufacturing Optimization 

You’re probably familiar with the old saying, “everybody makes mistakes.” Well, what if we can change that to, “Artificial intelligence DOESN’T make mistakes,” at least when speaking about pharma manufacturing.

Why is pharma manufacturing optimization so important?

The process to fully develop and test a new drug can cost up to $2.7 billion. 

Of course, not all of that money is spent in the manufacturing stage of drug development.

The various studies that need to be conducted in order to bring the drug to market constitute about $10 million to $2 billion of the total amount, but here’s the kicker…

90% of drugs that begin testing in humans don’t reach the market because they are either UNSAFE or INEFFECTIVE. 

So, errors in manufacturing could not only hit you at an unexpected time, but they can also be extremely costly. That’s where pharma AI comes into play.

Using predictive analytics, AI and Machine Learning (ML) can predict and prevent:

  • Under-demand
  • Over-demand
  • Supply chain problems.
  • Production line failures.
  • And more!!

With that being said, how exactly can AI and ML do this?

Well, instead of humans sifting through the massive amounts of raw data for hours looking for anomalies, AI and ML can do it much more quickly, efficiently, and accurately at a lower cost.

Pharma AI can be beneficial to your company’s manufacturing sector by providing:

  • Increased speed.
  • Increased precision.
  • Enhanced employee safety.
medical pills industry factory and production indoor

3. Discovering and Evaluating Pharma Market Trends 

The last thing that any pharma company wants to worry about is being the last to know about an emerging trend in the market.

Being the last to know could set your company and product development far behind your competition and you’ll end up playing catch-up.

Traditionally, the best ways to discover emerging market trends were networking, website researching, and sifting through professional studies.

However, in the current technical age, pharma AI helps your company be the first to know about an emerging trend before it happens, giving you plenty of time to plan and execute.

Applications of AI such as ML and Deep Learning (DL) have the ability to analyze large amounts of data to make sure you are the first to witness any potential market trends.

By following a programmed algorithm, these applications of AI can quickly dig through these large data-sets. This would take much longer for humans to do.

The word “analyze” doesn’t quite fully define the magnitude of automated work that will be done for your pharma company using pharma AI. Instead, the term “dynamic understanding” more effectively describes the capabilities of AI and ML-enabled processes.

ML can provide your company with a dynamic understanding of the entire market in real-time, providing the best results.

After the data is produced, your company can benefit from being fully aware of the following:

  • Market Size.
  • Patient Segmentation.
  • Targeting.
  • Provider Segmentation.
  • Payer Segmentation.
  • Messaging.
  • Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) activities.
Image of businesspeople at presentation looking at virtual project

4. Prescriber Segmentation 

As the pharma industry becomes increasingly more patient-centric, the way pharma companies create and commercialize drugs are becoming more prescriber specific.

In 2016, there were 4.45 billion prescriptions written throughout all of the United States. 

Based on that statistic alone, can you even imagine how long it would take to sort through all of the data involved for each individual prescriber? It would simply take forever!

Pharma AI helps you and your team free up time typically spent on more mundane or administrative tasks to instead focus on tasks that lend themselves to the company’s long-term goals.

For example, some types of data that pharma AI can generate efficiently are:

  • Therapy starts, changes, and add-on prescriptions.
  • Compliance and persistence.
  • Managed care access for the brand.
  • Group practice affiliation.

For instance, let’s say you want to segment prescribers into the following groups:

  • Promotion
  • Payer
  • Product
  • Patient

By leveraging pre-programmed AI algorithms to calculate large data-sets, you can create more specific groups for the four segmentations above. Let’s say two of the more specific groups are “Price-driven” and “Range of communication.”

A study that conducted similar prescriber segmentation discovered that 71% of prescribers were more specific with how they would like to be contacted, while only 29% of prescribers had a larger range of communication preferences.

Traditionally, finding this would not only take a ton of time, but it would also require significant resources to pull off within a reasonable timeframe. So, why spend all the time and resources on a task that can be done much more quickly and efficiently with AI?

Symbol of social network with people images-1

5. Chatbots

A research firm, Gartner, predicts that chatbots will handle 85% of customer service issues by 2020 and 40% of patients won’t mind talking to a chatbot as long as the information is accurate.

When people think of chatbots, they only think of the little pop-ups that come up at the bottom of the screen of websites. With the integration of AI, chatbots can be expanded in multiple ways that make your job easier and the experience much better for your consumers.

First, let’s briefly go over how AI-enabled chatbots can benefit your pharma company’s website since it is the most common understanding of the technology.

You can’t always be there to respond to every website visitor all day and every day. However, AI-enabled chatbots can help bridge the gap by providing basic information to visitors on your website and social media when they need it.

According to a State of Chatbots report in 2018, 64% of website visitors expect 24-hour chatbot customer service while 55% of website visitors expect instant responses. 

Plus, by incorporating certain algorithms into ML-enabled chatbots, insights from every conversation can instantly be learned and processed to ensure that a more human-like response is given with every encounter.

This way, you’re giving the user EXACTLY what they want. A response that is accurate, compliant, quick, and available 24/7, 365 days a year!

So, what are other ways chatbots implemented with AI can be beneficial for your pharma company?

  • Track patients after discharge.
  • Check on patients with chronic diseases.
  • Track clinical trial participants.
  • Help users find and talk to doctors.

AI-driven chatbots can also be beneficial when developed around a specific treatment option. This would allow physicians or patients to get information that is relative to their needs for either prescribing or starting treatment. This includes the ability to access:

  • Adverse Events
  • Tolerability
  • Dosing
  • Efficacy
  • Financial Resources
  • And more!

It’s clear that incorporating AI-powered chatbots into your pharma company can save time while also ensuring that website visitors, patients, and prescribers are all getting accurate information very quickly!

Business person working on computer against technology background

Pharma AI saves time and money so you can focus on tasks that drive long-term success.

By integrating pharma AI solutions into your company operations, you will reap benefits far beyond drug discovery and development.

While many of these benefits will take some time to manifest, you will see an increase in production, efficiency, and reduced cost progress over time, all with minimal involvement on your part.

1. Targeted Content Delivery Marketing

2. Manufacturing Optimization 

3. Discovering and Evaluating Pharma Market Trends

4. Prescriber Segmentation 

5. Chatbots 

Applications of AI such as ML, DL, and Predictive Analytics are being incorporated into pharma operations every single day with great, lasting results.

How will your company leverage the power of artificial intelligence to provide better products, services, and support to your audience?

Want to learn more about pharma AI? Or, curious about our artificial intelligence pharma solution built on Microsoft platforms? Get in touch with us for free today by clicking below!

6 Important Pharma Data Collection Sources To Keep An Eye On

In this digital age, the term “data” can often be much like a loaded question; many industries have an overabundance of raw data available but a distinct lack of understanding of how to deal with that data. The pharma and biotech industries are no exception.

The growing level of accessible, quality, real-world healthcare data is causing quite a stir throughout the pharmaceutical industry.

Recent findings indicate that applying specific data strategies to innovation optimization, improved efficiency of research and clinical trials, and transitioning doctors, insurers, and regulators to the rapidly shifting individualized, patient-centric approach to healthcare is consistently identified as a top priority among pharma leadership teams.

Colleagues standing in a data center in front of drawings of charts

Pharma data collection and analytics are so essential to the future of pharma that nearly 40% of pharma professionals identified it as the most significant trend in the industry for the coming year. 

Relevant data collection and uses identified by respondents include…

  • Determining potential drug candidates.
  • Monitoring of clinical trials.
  • Analyzing trends in electronic health records.
  • Improving tracking of patient statistics.
  • Predicting healthcare outcomes.
  • Designing treatment protocols.

Much like any other industry, there is an enormous amount of raw data available to pharma companies, but harvesting and harnessing that data can require a bit of work.

In order to remain competitive in the rapidly evolving field of pharma data, organizations must understand the following:

  • Which data sources available are relevant to the pharma industry.
  • The unique differences between these data sources.
  • The importance of the information provided by these data sources.
  • How to harness this information to benefit your company.
Physician on laptop on a desk while holding a pen.

Primary vs. Secondary Data Sources

All data is not equal, which is especially true in the pharma industry. To simplify things, pharma data typically fall into one of two categories: primary or secondary data sources.

Primary Data Sources

A primary data source gathers information through direct interaction with the end-user and through purchased data. This type of information is obtained when…

  • Physicians are attended by a sales rep.
  • Prescription history.
  • Patient participates in a clinical trial.
  • The patient is involved in treatment where a medical claim is generated.

Primary source data is essential as it provides vital information gathered through study, trial, testimonial, or other forms of direct interaction between a patient or provider and a pharma product.

Secondary Data Sources

Secondary data sources gather information through market research and often use data gathered in databases and registries. Examples of pharma secondary data sources include…

  • Various forms of social media.
  • Websites
  • Sunshine Act Database
  • FDA database

Something to keep in mind is that secondary data source information is typically public information available for free and provides valuable information that can help you reduce costs, advance sales, and adjust the focus of your company.

Proficient young male employee with eyeglasses and checkered shirt, explaining a business analysis displayed on the monitor of a desktop PC to his female colleague, in the interior of a modern office

Regardless of the source, both primary and secondary data provide timely, relevant, and important information essential for evaluating and identifying strategic opportunities in the overall global pharma market.

Examples of Primary Data Sources In Pharma

1. Clinical Trials 

Clinical trials are advanced research programs designed to test whether a new medication, treatment option, or medical device is as effective or more effective than current devices or treatments currently used or prescribed to patients.

Recent reports estimate the average cost associated with developing a new medication to be more than $2.5 billion, with nearly 60% of costs coming directly from the associated clinical trials. 

These clinical trials are essential in providing detailed information about the safety and efficacy of pharma products, indicate who is able to use and benefit from the drug and highlights important side effects, interactions, and potential dangers associated with it.

Without the data provided through the clinical trial phase, the breakthroughs realized through new pharma developments have no value and their benefits will go unnoticed.

Hand typing on modern laptop notebook computer with future graph icons and symbols

2. Patient Testimonials 

It’s no secret that patients are the ultimate beneficiaries of the advances in medical science that help them overcome diseases and life-threatening challenges.

However, due to the nature of the pharma sales process, more often than not, pharma companies aren’t able to make a direct connection with the patient and rely heavily on the prescribers to educate the patients.

Over the last decade, companies have built great patient assistance programs and patient testimonials are increasingly important.

“There is no greater partner we can look for in healthcare than the patient,” says Cheryl Lubbert, President, and CEO, Health Perspectives Group. “By incorporating the patient’s voice early and often, we can expect better health literacy, better adherence, and better health outcomes. 

In fact, patient testimonials are so effective, research conducted by Remedy Health demonstrated that…

9 out of 10 patients who have heard an inspirational story about another patient reported becoming more hopeful, which inspired them to take action. 

This action includes trying a new treatment or medication, going to the doctor, exercising, or eating healthier.

Writing on clipboard with patient in background in hospital

3. Adverse Events

While adverse events are an uncommon occurrence, managing and tracking adverse events is a crucial data component for a pharma company to stay legally compliant with the FDA as well as to improve the conditions of future trials.

In this regard, the FDA has made guidance documentation very clear and readily available to help pharma companies ensure compliance.

4. Sales Operations and CRM Software 

Strong, efficient data collection and analytics are an essential component to effectual sales operations for any pharma or biotech company.

This is often achieved through…

  • Building strong customer relationships.
  • Enhancing sales team performance.
  • Monitoring the customer’s decision-making process.
  • Efficiently monitoring and managing operational costs.

Sales operations and analytics software platforms within a pharma company analyze a large amount of data to develop a comprehensive promotion strategy and target universe.

Examples Of Secondary Data Sources 

5. Social Media

Social media continues to transform the way the pharma and healthcare industries do business, especially in the evolving age of patient self-information.

Studies show that 80% of social media users are actively using the platform to search for health-related information. Also, over 90% of 18-24 year-olds report that they considered the health information provided on social media to be reliable. 

Shocked young business woman using laptop looking at computer screen blown away in stupor sitting outside corporate office. Human face expression, emotion, feeling, perception, body language, reaction

Social media users also report sharing their first-hand experiences on a wide variety of health and medical topics over social media, including…

  • Coping with chronic conditions.
  • Treating acute illnesses.
  • Choosing a healthcare provider.

In addition, an increasing number of social media users are looking to their doctors to actively share information about new drugs, benefits of new medications and treatments, and updates on specific illnesses.

60% of social media users report that they trust what doctors post on social media. 

By engaging in social media about health-related topics, people are able to share their stories and experiences, as well as find treatment recommendations and options that have worked for others in similar medical circumstances. Social media provides a massive, active network for pharma data collection.

Companies are using these developing patient portals to glean information from end-users of pharma products and services.

Data gathered through social media channels can also help drive marketing campaigns by providing a rich well of potential marketing material such as patient testimonials and stories that when integrated into marketing materials are instantly relatable and give people the opportunity to make an emotional connection.

6. Sunshine Act Database 

Each year, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act published data that discloses to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) payments made to teaching hospitals and physicians, as well as manufactures holding interests in those companies.

Businessman drawing business statistics on glass wall-2

The Sunshine Act Database provides current data on over 28 million records related to nearly $17 billion in clinical trial-related payments to doctors, hospitals, and healthcare organizations. 

Most of these payments are provided in the form of travel, research, gifts, meals, and speaking fees.

The database also details information pertaining to the ownership interests that physicians and their family members have to clinical trial organizations.

This data provides valuable information that has significant implications for the impacts of the efficiency of your organization.

2009 survey discovered that 84% of physicians interacted financially with drug, device, and medical supply manufacturers.

These relationships often resulted in swayed decision making that directly correlated with inflated healthcare costs.

Having access to the type of pharma data provided through the Sunshine Act Database is critical to understanding the value attached to drugs.

Especially in a time when…

One in four prescriptions drug users reports difficulty affording their medication costs. 

Background image with financial charts and graphs on media backdrop

Are You Ready To Access Actionable Pharma Data and Analytics For Superior Outcomes?

In the current era of open healthcare information, a wide variety of valuable pharma data is available and accessible to prescribers and patients alike.

Pharma organizations that demonstrate the ability to collect, analyze, and respond to relevant pharma data also demonstrate the ability to better meet the needs of their customers/patients, accelerate innovation, and increase revenue and overall value.

We at Prescriber360 provide powerful, streamlined access to the most relevant primary and secondary pharma data sources available including:

  • Clinical Trials
  • Patient Testimonials
  • Adverse Events
  • Sales Operations
  • Social Media
  • Sunshine Act Database

We proudly serve as a premium pharma data solutions provider, allowing you to focus on your resources and efforts on implementing this knowledge, adapting to customer needs, and achieving better results and increased earnings for your business.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below in the comment section!

Want to learn how our advanced pharma analytics and data management platform can provide you with the information you need to enhance your company’s performance? Request a free platform demo today below!