The Power of Real-World Evidence

Brian KellyNext week, May 16 – 20, Optum colleagues, clients, industry peers, global researchers and thought leaders are gathering in Philadelphia at the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 20th Annual International Meeting. I’m looking forward to convening with our clients, discussing our progress and brainstorming about the new challenges to be tackled.

Reflecting on this year’s meeting and the state of the industry, the idea of a ‘success failure’ continuum comes to mind. The barrier for new products gets higher every year due to more evidence and certainty around existing alternatives. Thus, it’s getting increasingly difficult for our clients to successfully launch new drugs in the market. They’ve been so successful with the quality of their products that with each passing year the incumbent has another year’s worth of certainty and evidence of its value. It’s exciting to see this challenge as a sign of progress.

This year’s meeting theme, “Integrating big data, patient data, and cost-effectiveness into clinical practice: promise and prospects,” reflects a shift in the thinking around big data. In my opinion, there’s a marked change happening and a realization in the industry that big data is a means rather than an end. It’s not sufficient to have the data; it’s all about how you use it. In our view, it’s always been the case that success lies in being able to make a clinical change as a result of applying data and analytics.

At Optum, we’re leading the charge in this area, having assembled the richest data set that applies to multiple stakeholders. It can be applied throughout the health care system, bringing value in the eyes of providers, payers, pharmaceutical companies and others. Further, through our work with business analytics leader SAS we now have an analytics platform meant to democratize the data for the benefit of life sciences clients. We’ve launched an open data platform to help clients better manage, analyze and share data, in order to dig out data-driven insights. While we are the first collaborator, the platform will soon incorporate data from multiple providers, allowing us to innovate with scale and create an unmatched, data-agnostic resource to guide decisions.

Right now problems in the health care system are urgent and extremely local. Thus, this is the perfect time to be utilizing integrated claims and clinical data to take action on a local level – focusing on a particular patient at a particular hospital at a particular point in time. There is no blanket answer that will collectively solve these types of problems. Working with our partners in the provider world, we’re influencing the way we do things and the way patients are treated.

On that note, each year at this meeting the Optum Life Sciences group sponsors an educational symposium. This year’s topic, “The real world: How integrated data is used to improve patient care,” will focus on the use of observational data sources by payers, providers and patients in service of individual and population health management.

In addition to the symposium, our contributions to this event include plenary sessions, issue panels, workshops and numerous poster presentations on a wide variety of important research topics.

To learn more about these topics and to view a full schedule of Optum’s contributions to the ISPOR 20th Annual International Meeting click here. I encourage you to participate via social media. Join the Twitter discussion at @OptumNews to read more about what we’re doing at the meeting and follow additional discussions at @ISPORorg and #ISPORPhila.

–Brian Kelly, President, Optum Life Sciences

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