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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.
In the early 90s, Britt Johnson‘s life was like that of any healthy young girl. Until suddenly, it wasn’t. In the summer of 1992, Britt came down with strep throat for the first of what would be many times. Over the next several months, Britt encountered one health setback after another. Months of health setbacks turned into years, during which time Britt had repeated contact with the healthcare system. This contact was not always positive. Britt received a series of misdiagnoses and was even accused of being a hypochondriac. Finally, at the age of 20 Britt was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. Britt’s disease has continued to progress, and her diagnosis has been amended to Spondyloarthropathy and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
According to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide each year. And that number is set to rise. To address the cancer epidemic, the UICC organizes World Cancer Day on February 4 of each year. The day was created “to raise awareness about the disease and to develop practical strategies to address the cancer burden.”
The 2015 World Cancer Day tagline is “Not Beyond Us,” which is intended to highlight that solutions to cancer care are within reach. Four key areas of focus support this theme. For each of the four areas, UICC defines targets to achieve by the year 2025 and the challenge to achieving these targets. UICC also describes how we can overcome the challenge to meeting their targets for each focus area. Learn more about each of the focus areas here:
Click to view U.S map illustrating cancer incidence and locations of enrolling cancer clinical trials.
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.