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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
Apple has a knack for making technology that, to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, feels a bit magical. It turns out that’s the sort of technology people strongly prefer to use. As a result, Apple has built a loyal consumer following, suggesting that commitment to a delightful technology experience is simply good business. Professionals in all industries have taken note of Apple’s success, and clinical research professionals are no exception.
I and others working in clinical innovation have looked to Apple for inspiration on how we might use technology to improve the patient experience. How can we make research participation more delightful and less frustrating? How can we distill a very complex process into an experience that feels very simple for research participants? How can we make clinical research more…Apple-like? Now we won’t have to look much further for potential answers. Apple itself is seeking to answer these questions.
Apple recently announced ResearchKit, creating waves far beyond the clinical research community. ResearchKit is an open-source framework that provides researchers and application developers with a platform to build mobile study apps. Apple’s announcement was accompanied by the release of five ResearchKit-built apps. Because the ResearchKit framework integrates multiple capabilities into one platform, researchers have a single destination to conduct research. And patients have a single destination to participate in research, simply by downloading any chosen study app onto their mobile device.
Clinical research site professionals (investigators, site directors, study coordinators, and pharmacists) play a very important role in shaping a clinical trial volunteer’s experience. That role can be a complex one, as they work to build bridges between the sponsor’s goals for a trial, the physician’s care plan for the volunteer, and the volunteer’s own needs and wishes. They are often “the face” of the trial, and provide the much-needed personal connection for patients as they navigate the process of participating in a trial.
We know there’s a lot we can learn from their experiences and insights. We recently created a Lilly Innovation Site Advocacy Group to help keep the lines of communication open and encourage innovative thinking around improving the clinical trial experience. Our hope is that we can make site professionals jobs a little easier, and offer exceptional trial experiences for patients.
Joseph Kim serves as a Senior Advisor in Clinical Development Innovation at Lilly, focusing on developing and implementing innovative patient engagement solutions. He has spent over 15 years in the Pharma industry utilizing a unique approach that integrates his experiences working for Sponsors such as Shire and Merck, CROs, and technology vendors.
Joseph has a robust combination of experience that includes early and late phase clinical research, and a well known history of innovation in the clinical research industry, recognized as one of “20 Innovators Changing the Face of the Clinical Trials Industry” by CenterWatch in 2013. He holds a BS in Molecular Biology from Lehigh University and an MBA from Villanova. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in clinical research.
For starters, you should know that I did not come to clinical research through any natural career path. In fact, I had two other careers as a social worker and high school science teacher before landing in clinical research. My first role was as an entry level data manager. Quite comfortable with trying things on and pivoting quickly, my instinct was, “This isn’t for me either.” Given that I worked for a large pharma company (Merck), I was able to quickly learn about other roles and try them on too. My next move was as a garden variety study manager in psychiatric research. This was the old model, where it was you and a medical monitor doing everything from writing the protocol, to selecting sites, to reviewing data, to paying grants.
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Thank you to everyone who has made 2014 such a wonderful year! We have thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with you all and truly value your perspective. The Lilly Clinical Open Innovation (LCOI) team looks forward to continued interaction with you in 2015.
As we bring this year to a close, we’ve had some time to review our recent work, some of which we previously shared here on our blog. We sponsored a Patient Engagement App Challenge, which eventually led to the LVJJ website. The LVJJ website is a pilot project to improve how we present information to patients and caregivers on study websites. We’ve also progressed on our target profiles project, which is aimed at building a consistent framework for clinical trial eligibility criteria. And we created the Lilly Innovation Site Advocacy Group, providing us with access to great feedback from research sites.