This is episode two in the Sorcero miniseries on building great AI-powered life sciences products, a Mighty Capital podcast.
Join host Sorcero CEO and Co-founder Dipanwita Das as she sits down with industry experts and business leaders to discuss how to build great AI-powered products for Life Sciences.
Sorcero Series Episode 2: IPG Health Medical Communications COO on Data, Representation, and Putting the Patient First
In the second conversation in this series, Dipanwita Das sits down with Alice Choi, Chief Operating Officer of McCann Health Medical Communications, now a part of IPG Health Medical Communications, home to the world’s most celebrated and awarded Med Comms agencies.
In Episode 2, you'll learn more about:
- How to best communicate scientific data in a world of increasingly accessible, but complex, information
- How to improve data sets and medical treatments through better representations in clinical trials
- What it means to truly put the patient first
In this discussion, one notable theme is the increasing volume and complexity of data in life sciences.
How is AI tackling these challenges and supporting better decision-making by augmenting — rather than replacing — the work of human experts? Listen to the podcast on Apple, Amazon, and Spotify to hear from Das and Choi.
In Episode 2, Dipanwita Das and Alice Choi discuss:
1. Evidence-based scientific storytelling
As COO of IPG Health Medical Communications, effective communication is core to Alice Choi. It's just as important to the Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) with whom she works closely.
“Over the past several years, and this even predates the pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry has been moving to a much more transparent model. We are moving away from a hard sell to a more scientific, evidence-based approach," says Choi.
Although medical data is more accessible than ever before, it still falls to life sciences professionals to gather and share a clear narrative.
"This is where the role of Medical Science Liaison teams comes in. The medical liaison now is becoming much more about a two-way scientific exchange, and that is a much more credible option than just having a raft of salespeople knocking on the physician’s door.
I think what MSLs are probably feeling is the desire to be as evidence-based as possible. That can be challenging because of the raft of data that one has to go through to stay current. That can be quite demanding," says Choi.
Here, Choi introduces the concept of evidence-based scientific storytelling.
>> What exactly is evidence-based storytelling? Listen to the full episode to learn more about its impact.
“You have to combine it with the ability to have a narrative and exchange, and have a dialogue. This is where the importance of what I'm going to call evidence-based scientific storytelling really comes in. There is definitely a shift from that hard sell knocking on doors to, 'Hey, let's have a robust scientific exchange,'" Choi explains.
2. Representation and data
When it comes to patient data collected in clinical trials, Choi says researchers need to ask hard questions.
“We can say very clearly that there is still a huge problem with representation in clinical trials. I think that's massive," emphasizes Choi.
She explains, “There's a lot of work that needs to be done there. It's something that regulatory bodies like the FDA are very conscious of. They have a whole governance document on this. It's not just the underrepresentation in clinical trials that we need to be concerned about. It's also in the treating population and those who are communicating data."
>> How can data sets and medical treatments be improved through better representations in clinical trials? Listen to hear about the shift.
“It's something that I do feel quite passionately about. It's not just to do with gender. It has to do with race, social mobility, ableism, and hidden conditions, like neurodiversity. There is a whole heap of work to be done there that we need to try and tackle collectively," says Choi.
3. What patient-centric organizations do differently
"Patient-centric care" has become something of a buzzword among healthcare organizations. But what does it consist of in practice?
For Alice Choi, it ranges from better communication with participants during and after clinical trials to transforming technical nomenclature into plain language in order to better communicate published research.
Choi says organizations can talk the talk, but “you want to see what's actually happening. For me, that would be seeing patients have the opportunity to be involved, right from the clinical development process.
It would be much more open dialogue and engagement around their participation in clinical trials. Sometimes," she explains, "the communication just stops there. A lot of participants in trials would love to continue the dialogue, hear more about what actually happened to that trial.
I think another nice thing would be acknowledgement of their participation and contribution. If you were to actually do a search or review a lot of peer reviewed publications, I'm not sure that the overwhelming majority would thank or acknowledge the patients that actually took part in that trial and helped generate data.”
On the communication side
"Peer review data can be notoriously difficult to access, digest, and understand," explains Choi.
She discusses some important questions such as, "Are we actually making that data more accessible for patients? Is a company actually committing to publish their data in open access journals, rather than in subscription-only, behind paywalls?
Is that company actually going out of their way to produce enhanced content alongside that data? By enhanced content, I mean things like slide decks, video clips, infographics to make that complex data more understandable."
Choi also emphasizes the value of plain language summaries for accessibility.
“Are companies taking care to always produce a plain language summary alongside some of their more complex data so that patients, or even busy healthcare professionals, can absorb the data in the quickest, fastest, most meaningful way possible?” Choi poses.
About the Podcast
The Mighty Capital Podcast features interviews with industry experts and business leaders across technology, product and venture capital.
This Sorcero miniseries is hosted by CEO and Co-founder Dipanwita Das and centers on how to build great AI-powered products for Life Sciences.
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