Medidata Blog

Wicked Problems and Wicked Awesome Solutions

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Last week in Washington, Medidata joined other industry leaders to discuss how to break down the walls between health care and clinical R&D. Hosted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, the forum addressed how we can make health care data, much of which is maintained in EHR systems, available to clinical development and vice versa. There were many great ideas, plenty of regulatory encouragement and several impassioned pleas but this challenge, according to Design Thinking, seems wicked. Not wicked like a witch or evil but wicked because the problem is resistant to a solution, intractable. And, due to its complexity, the effort to solve one aspect may create other problems. Much of the discussion in Washington, which had distinguished representation from industry (health care & life sciences), regulatory and standards bodies and technology vendors, circled back to patient-reported outcomes (PROs). Speaker after speaker called for increased focus on the voice of the patient by capturing their outcomes, in addition to their clinical data. While PROs are well-defined in specific scientific terms in clinical development, both heath care and life sciences know they need to move to more value-based or outcomes-based business models. So effectively capturing outcomes from the patient perspective could serve as the bridge between the two worlds from which we can move back upstream. Now, wicked as defined in the land of “use yah blinkah”… While we’re always honored to have customers use our software, there is no greater honor than to have customers actually deploy our software without our involvement, or even knowledge. We recently learned of a customer deploying Patient Cloud, Medidata’s product for electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePRO), after the fact. Wicked awesome! When we’ve taught our customers to fish, we know we’ve accomplished something very special and, as a result, a bridge between clinical R&D and health care, with patient-reported outcomes as the spearhead, may be within grasp. With Design Thinking and wicked awesome software, we can solve some very wicked problems.

*For more perspectives on the IOM meeting, check out Joe Dustin's video recap with CDISC's health care liason Landen Bain, "Connecting Clinical Research and Health Care — The Time Is Now!"

*Guest blogger David McNierney is a product and solutions marketing director at Medidata. You can reach David by email or follow him on Twitter @davidmcnierney. Additional blog posts by David McNierney:

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