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Healthcare is undergoing rapid changes, some driven by our ability to create ever-increasing amounts of data ever faster, and others driven by our ability to interpret them more and more accurately.
According to estimates, we produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and the trend is upwards. In other words, 90 percent of all the data in the world has been generated in the last two years alone.
Despite not being exclusively healthcare data, the trend in healthcare is similar, driven by a number of developments.
We can now mine and interpret all the data generated by artificial intelligence algorithms, and there will be more to come in the future. We have made much progress over the last few years, but with ever better and faster tools, we will be able to generate and interpret data more efficiently.
Medical Affairs’ Bright Future
According to a recent study by McKinsey, medical affairs departments seem to be the best place to collect, manage, utilize, and disseminate all that information. In addition to providing unbiased and scientifically deep information, medical affairs also works with different stakeholders to build a strong relationship and answer scientific and medical questions.
It is possible for medical affairs to expand their presence within an organization in this scenario in several ways. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Analyzing More and More Data to Benefit Patients
As medicine becomes more personalized, it will become more effective. We are finally at the cusp of the end of the blockbuster drug-based business model. A personalized treatment involves collecting more data and identifying and analyzing the data relevant to a particular patient.
The need for personalization is new to medical affairs teams, but the task itself isn’t. In particular, medical science liaisons (MSLs) have long been responsible for providing relevant information to healthcare providers (HCPs). Information will need to be tailored even more to each individual patient, but the primary objective remains the same.
Providing Information to New Stakeholders
Pharmaceutical companies traditionally have healthcare providers as their stakeholders. In spite of the fact that payers and patients are not “new” stakeholders, their influence is bound to grow. Especially in oncology, value-based care combined with more complex treatments will require payers to receive complex medical data and economic analyses.
Since medical affairs has been delivering information to HCPs for decades, they have the most experience in handling accurate information and timely delivery for both stakeholder groups.
Facilitating the Flow of Information with New Technologies
Medical affairs departments will be central, strategic parts of every pharmaceutical company in the future because of big data and digitalization. There is already an unprecedented amount of data being generated and analyzed using new technologies. Healthcare providers, patients, and others will increasingly receive targeted information based on this data, and digital technology will play a critical role in delivering that information on time. Remote interactions with HCPs and key opinion leaders are becoming increasingly important in medical affairs, especially for field-based team members. This trend will increase as physicians demand more just-in-time, personalized information, and medical affairs is well positioned to handle it.