I admit it, I have become obsessed with a concept that was born from reading about some of my favoritetopics: gene therapy, artificial intelligence and health technology. Itinstilled in my thoughts for weeks and turned into an epiphany after two blog articlesI discovered last weekend.
The first one is called Here’s why we’re not prepared for the next wave of biotech innovation, by Matthew Herper (https://www.statnews.com/2022/11/03/why-were-not-prepared-for-next-wave-of-biotech-innovation/)and the second Why are clinical trials so expensive?Tales from the beast’s belly (https://milkyeggs.com/?p=136).Warning: they are both fairly long, but make their points strongly and clearly.
Matthew Herper’s article analyzes the evolution of clinical trials over time: they have become much more expensive than in the past (according to the author’s calculations, they went from $10,000 to $500,000 per patient!) and much more difficult to organize as well. And yet, just because we are living in the “golden age of drug discoveryand biomedical innovation”, they are more necessary than ever.
Milky Eggs’piece is the nightmarish chronicle of a typical clinical trial set upprocedure, starting with the selection of a CRO, endless meetings, data sheets,absurd procedures, mounting costs. It ends on this bitter conclusion: “Even people who are very competent - scientists with invaluable technicalknowledge, for example - seem to have just given up and grown acclimated to endless bureaucracy and low productivity”.
So, if I summarize correctly, the use of technology (and biotechnology) leads to fabulous and multiple innovations impacting public health, which drives the number of clinical trials needed to apply these technologies through the roof. And yet,ironically enough, it seems very difficult (almost impossible in fact) to resort to technologies to make all these necessary clinical trials cheaper or fast,or simply put, to make them happen. The technological factor is both a boost and an obstacle to medical progress.
I can personally relate to the story these articles tell. Dealing with clinical trial researchers and sponsors on a daily basis, I have witnessed their reluctance to adopt software solutions. I have often wondered why they are (sometimes very strongly) technology averse.
Because they do not understand how it can facilitate their routine tasks? With the corollary assumption: because they are not explained properly how it can facilitate their routine tasks?
Because they are overprotective of their work and see technology as potentially taking over their prerogatives?
Because they think technology and human interactions are mutually exclusive?
I would becurious to know what your theory is.
Next week,I will elaborate on my “solution” to this problem…. (remember my obsessive thought?)!