The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the spotlight on the global healthcare industry, putting its strategies and responses under the lens. Industry leaders are forced to examine the efficiency of clinical research procedures in forecasting new outbreaks and managing their spread. Big data analytics has been at the heart of the industry’s response to the global pandemic. Over the past year, new technologies have been used to understand, track, and contain the virus, with a profound impact on the way clinical research is conducted.
As the nature of healthcare changes, the demand for clinical research professionals has never been greater. For those interested in clinical research, here’s a closer look at how big data is used to understand the impact of COVID-19, and how this technology has become key in the future of healthcare.
Using Big Data to Analyze New Outbreaks
Big data has been at the centre of research efforts to understand the extensive impact of COVID-19. The complexity of the virus and its rapid global spread requires healthcare professionals to interpret a mass of information from multiple sources and through various lenses. Our ability to track and contain the reach of a virus is dependent on leveraging as much data as possible on infected people. By compiling and analyzing information, big data tools can help industry professionals to:
- Detect viruses – signal detection can help indicate the early start of a pandemic
- Compare responses – analysis of patient data sets can explore the relative effectiveness of local treatment procedures
- Codify treatments – Big data can systematize a global response for those treatments that have a better impact
Students studying for one of many types of clinical research careers will gain insight into the most recent developments in the fields of clinical research and pharmacovigilance, and understand the process of distributing new drugs and healthcare treatments. Big data can be used to expedite that process by forecasting the impact of viruses in their early stages.
Expanding Data Access in Clinical Research Careers
The onset of COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of international data sharing in healthcare. The global pandemic has forced industry professionals to examine their current research systems and determine how access to data can be improved. Companies like Google Cloud are working to offer free access to essential data through its COVID-19 Public Dataset Program to encourage analytical solutions. Likewise, drug development companies are working to form coalitions with other industry associations to make information available for research.
While big data offers more advanced analytics, tracking, and detection within health care, its biggest achievement is encouraging a more integrated global system. By compiling incident data from sources around the world, this technology can assist clinical researchers in developing new treatments based on a much larger pool of scientific discoveries.
Increasing Efficiency and Effectiveness of Clinical Trials
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the adoption of technological tools that aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of clinical trials. Clinical research trials can be slow and costly endeavours. As those with clinical research training know, the development of new treatments requires compliance with a host of laws and regulations, and the procedure of distributing drugs on the market is lengthy.
Clinical trials can benefit from data that provides easier analysis of patients in the following ways:
- More targeted patient recruitment
- Computing patient histories
- Faster evaluation of data
- Linking data to real-world sources
By focusing on the efficacy of analysis in healthcare data, fewer patients will need to be targeted, reducing the overall length, cost, and burden of clinical research studies.
Are you interested in taking clinical research courses?
Contact the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences to find out more!