The Future of Patient Safety Is in Automation, Digital Health

With shifts in health care moving toward AI and automation, issues relating to how these innovations may impact patient safety continue to emerge.

The life sciences industry is experiencing an evolution. Technology is forcing digital transformation and is rapidly changing the way that companies conduct research, test treatments, and evaluate data. To continue this progress, industry experts will benefit from pursuing collaboration over competition, such as by elevating the importance of sharing knowledge, ideas, and best practices among colleagues and across companies over the privatization of that information.

For ArisGlobal’s annual Breakthrough summit, we pulled together a variety of leaders across the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and digital health communities to discuss what innovations, trends, and technologies they are seeing drive the next wave of industry change.

In all of these conversations, the core consideration above all else was patient safety. With great shifts in health care moving toward the recurring themes of artificial intelligence and automation, issues relating to how these new innovations and changes may impact patient safety continue to emerge.

Automation in treatment development and data processing

Using technology to increase the speed of innovation can have a significant impact on patient safety. By removing mundane, manual tasks that are traditionally very time consuming, teams can uncover critical data findings faster than ever before.

In ArisGlobal’s 2021 State of the Industry Report, we found that 83% of the life sciences industry is leveraging some level of automation across their research and development processes to increase productivity and time to market. We expect to see that number grow as more companies come to recognize the digital opportunities in research and development.

How data are collected, analyzed, and interpreted was also a key theme surrounding the subject of patient safety at the Breakthrough summit. Specifically, the use of advanced data sets may help to make possible a greater level of predictability in assessing future patient behavior, which can increase the potential for patient safety. Providers would have to ask the same crucial demographic and health background questions during visits with patients, but the data analysis of these answer would be enhanced due to automation’s ability to remove human error from the equation.

"The end goal is predictive, personalized safety,” said Shamik Parikh, vice president of Patient Safety Center of Excellence at AstraZeneca. “What is important in personalized safety is having the right type of data available to us on how an individual might have reacted in the past. What is the history of that person?"

Furthermore, the areas of automation and personalized data fabrics for patients are uniquely connected, as the ability for humans to gather, organize, and interpret patient data is limited. For technology, such limitations do not exist.

"Safety case volumes are rising at 30% to 50% annually,” said Beena Wood, VP of Safety Product Management at ArisGlobal. “It's no longer a sustainable solution to add more and more human resources to tackle this problem. Instead, having intelligent and innovative technology such as automation—including artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and rule-based automation—is the right answer."

The opportunities in digital and decentralization

Many organizations are focused on being positive drivers of change in terms of virtual care and treatment development. Decentralized trials, technology innovations, and other areas are growing in popularity to ensure that even when a human touch is not possible, the experience and timeline does not suffer as a result.

Sean McClain, founder and CEO of AbSci, shared how his organization is playing a part in the transformation within health care.

"We are creating a better, faster path for new biologic drugs that are AbSci enabled through artificial intelligence and biology," McClain said. "We are more optimistic about the future of virtual care than ever before, and [we are] on the cusp of breaking down the systematic trade-offs within the system."

Sondra Pepe, the associate vice president of Clinical and Regulatory, Product Management at ArisGlobal, agreed, noting that the virtual world of health care has brought about a shift not only in the analysis of the data gathered in inpatient treatment settings, but also in the development of the treatments themselves.

“When patients involved in clinical trials are at higher risk, a decentralized model reduces the burden on patients and improves retention and safety,” Pepe said. “Decentralized clinical trials completely uproot the historical trial processes by executing telemedicine through mobile or local health care providers."

This model will undoubtedly continue to grow in popularity alongside other digital health initiatives on into the future.

Today, the life sciences industry is in a transformative period with patient safety at the center. Automation, innovation, and digital health advances will increase collaboration, access, and overall patient safety in both active treatments and research and development.

About the Author

Sankesh Abbhi is the president and CEO of ArisGlobal.In this role, he is focused on expanding ArisGlobal’s business by building a strong and unique platform strategy and launching important new products for the benefit of customers, patients, employees and shareholders. Sankesh has overseen back-to-back years of record growth for ArisGlobal and spearheaded the company’s relationship with Nordic Capital, delivering a long-term growth partner and opening a new chapter in ArisGlobal’s 30 year history.

References

ArisGlobal. Breakthrough2021. September 2021. Accessed January 18, 2021. https://www.arisglobal.com/breakthrough/