Since its founding in 1964, DIA has provided a global neutral platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange to address healthcare challenges. It’s a member-driven volunteer organization, incorporating professionals from around the world who are interested in creating efficiency through innovation, networking, learning, and professional development.
The 2022 DIA Global Annual Meeting has been taking place in-person in Chicago this week (June 19-23).
COVID-19 and big data
For Courtney Granville, Global Associate Director, Research and Scientific Programs at DIA, there are two key drivers in today's industry.
“COVID-19 and big data are currently the biggest drivers of innovation in the product development lifecycle,” she told BioPharma-Reporter.
“Among other things, COVID-19 demonstrated the importance of inclusion in clinical research and the hurdles we have yet to overcome to ensure diversity and create access for all people. Integrating clinical research into the care continuum is an important opportunity to increase participation, improve retention, and better appropriate representation.”
“On the data front – we are now masters at data collection and the challenges like issues of privacy, data ownership, and data integration will determine how we can ultimately USE the data to drive decision making, access to care and efficiency in R&D.”
Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across Life Sciences
In 2021, DIA had its first meeting to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities in diversity, equity and inclusion in the life sciences R&D community.
This year, the discussion will go beyond that. Now entitled ‘Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Across Life Sciences’, the meeting later this year will go beyond identifying the problem, and provide actionable solutions for attendees to take back to their organization.
“With the new final and draft guidance documents that have been released from the FDA on this topic, and the reinforcement of the importance of the inclusion of populations in clinical research that mirror and reflect the characteristics of the population ultimately affected by a particular illness or condition, this meeting is helpful to those who are new to this space or have worked on these efforts for years," said Granville.
"For those looking to be engaged on this topic outside of our meeting, we have a vibrant and active Diversity and Inclusion in Life Sciences Community that meets once a month to share best practices, work on projects together, learn amongst each other’s experiences and provide a safe space for discussion.”
Overcoming barriers to access globally requires information sharing, trusted communication, and increased awareness of regulatory science challenges. Collaboration and coordination, as demonstrated by medicines regulatory authorities in times of crisis, can enhance global reliance and cooperation to increase efficiency and bring solutions to the patients that need them.
It also means that what happens on one side of the world can have repercussions elsewhere.
“The crisis in Ukraine has disrupted the clinical development ecosystem and raised urgent challenges in assuring patient safety, continuity of care, and trial integrity within Ukraine and neighboring countries,” notes Granville. “DIA and our collaborators have put together a webinar series to raise awareness of these challenges and potential solutions from the patient, sponsor company and contract research organization perspectives.”
Centering healthcare on the individual patient
Patients have always been at the center of their care: but there is growing need and acceptance in clinical R&D that patients are stakeholders in clinical decision making, health IT user experience, and medical product development.
Focusing on what matters to patients and gathering feedback through the clinical development pipeline is an important element of improving study quality and ultimately impacting accessibility, perceptions, and market penetration. Patient preferences and satisfaction also serve as indicators for continuous improvement that can drive retention and operational efficiency.
In drug development, DIA and the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development are wrapping up a research study to create a tool to measure and quantify the value of patient engagement. "With a collaboration between sponsor companies, CROs and vendors, every voice is at the table to understand the impact of patient-focused drug development," says Granville.
On Monday, DIA's opening plenary 'The Future of Healthcare' put the spotlight on what the coming years will look like in healthcare.
At the forefront is an inclusive drug development environment. Specifically, assuring gender, racial and ethnic, and age-related diversity and inclusion are actively sought and included in the design, testing and implementation of approaches for the treatment and prevention of disease.
Meanwhile, digital technologies such as wearables and video-enabled exchanges now allow for the remote collection of data and interactions with patients. For the wider population, it also brings hope of earlier detection of disease, thanks to digital and continuous monitoring.
The session also covered the implications of global market disruption and personalized healthcare.