Medikly partners with inVentiv Health for faster clinical trials
By Mia Burns
inVentiv Health Inc. has announced a partnership with Medikly, Inc., as part of a continuous effort to assist pharma companies in developing better drugs faster and in a more cost effective manner, and in turn, getting them to market sooner. Medikly has multichannel digital technology that helps companies identify, engage, and retain clinical trial investigators by applying a real-time view of doctors based on their preferences and behaviors online. These insights can help overcome barriers for those who want to recruit investigators and the physician.
Medikly works by allowing trial sponsors to discover physicians who are likely to be interested in becoming trial investigators because of their work and characteristics that predispose them to research or to recommend patients for a trial. The technology enables trial sponsors to create communities for investigators, develop relevant and sophisticated medical education programs and then measure and apply engagement metrics to understand how healthcare providers will respond to messages. It also allows a pharmaceutical company to expand trial awareness, build trust with physicians, accelerate acquisition rates, and improve relationships. Together, Medikly optimizes engagement.
“The Medikly technology makes it easy for a healthcare marketer to better manage their audience,” says Venkat Gullapalli, MD, CEO and founder of Medikly. “This is important because social media has turned physicians into a new marketing channel. Traditionally, a brand manager’s role was to ensure that all messaging, advertising, and media was uniform, consistent, and ‘on brand.’”
Although Medikly is primarily focused on the marketing of pharmaceutical products, this agreement gives inVentiv Health exclusive access to their platform and data-collection tools to use in clinical trial recruitment. “By now, we all know that digital technologies can streamline clinical trials and save costs, but the challenge is knowing which technologies to use and how to best deploy them to save the most money and time,” said Raymond Hill, EVP of clinical for inVentiv Health. “This takes a special kind of expertise, grounded in broad global experience and deep insights into every aspect of drug development. inVentiv Health has expertise and it is what drives our investment in technologies like Medikly to accelerate clinical trial success.”
Hill notes that inVentiv has 13,000 employees working collaboratively across the globe in diverse healthcare services, as well as a network of a half million healthcare providers, that together give the company the ability to forecast industry trends and opportunities. This allows the company to identify and integrate technologies that solve both current and future problems in ways that no one else can. “Our approach to streamlining clinical trial recruitment of both physicians and patients is strategic, effective, cost efficient and fast,” he said. “This is the future of clinical trial recruitment.”
In May, the analyst firm Gartner Inc., identified Medlikly’s platform as a “disruptive technology” and game-changing innovation for pharmaceutical organizations seeking “actionable insights” from detailed practitioner profiling across all available channels, such as social, face-to-face, mobile, digital, and web. The data facilitates personalized messaging and optimized sales efforts around the individual physician reduce wasted … effort.”
“We consider that a compliment and we do consider our technology disruptive,” Gullapalli told R&D Pharma Business Connect. “A ‘disruptive’ technology or innovation is one that helps create a new market with new value propositions, while disrupting the existing market and displacing outdated technology. This is exactly what Medikly is doing.”
Not all clinical trial investigators are physicians, but according to Gullapalli, they do not have to be. “From Medikly's point of view, it doesn't matter since our technology will identify individuals who are predisposed to participate in a clinical trial based on their actions and interactions in the digital space,” he says. “Armed with this knowledge, trial sponsors can more rapidly recruit physicians.”
“Now, in the expansive digital world, that is only a small portion of what a brand manager must ‘manage’’, Gullapalli told R&D Pharma Business Connect. “That’s because branding is frequently outside of the brand’s control and must be shared with multiple audiences. A report by McKinsey & Company says that ‘marketing management has become more complex through the emergence of online tools—especially social media—that are shifting the balance of power to [customers].’ Once branded messaging or content is on the web, members of the healthcare audience can comment, add their opinions, and republish. The pharmaceutical marketer’s role now must include understanding and managing their audience as another brand media channel. In addition, Medikly makes it possible to assign a value to each physician based on how they interact with a company or brand. With that measurement pharmaceutical marketers can now more easily measure marketing performance and its impact on driving business value. Finally, healthcare agencies and pharmaceutical companies that are using the technology are discovering it takes fewer people to run a campaign, while the insights generated drive value and ROI. For clinical trials sponsors, this means identifying potential investigators and recruiting the right investigators faster. In principle, this will impact patient recruitment as well. It also means engaging investigators better and turning them into advocates for future trials.”
A real-time view of physicians’ actions and behaviors in the digital space is important because traditionally, pharmaceutical companies have had to utilize multiple departments and vendors to generate data, Gullapalli says. “To gain insights on physician behaviors companies then compile that data, which takes weeks or months, and by the time any insights are reported, the market has shifted. We’re oversimplifying for the sake of brevity, but at a high level this is true.”
“Pharmaceutical companies continue to struggle with how to incorporate and measure digital—especially social—as part of their marketing and clinical trials recruiting efforts,” Gullapalli told R&D Pharma Business Connect. “For many, traditional sales and marketing tactics are declining in ROI. Plus, there has been an explosion of digital channels which have, in essence, changed the way the healthcare audience consumes information and relates to healthcare companies,” he says. “And the blockbuster era is over, forcing new approaches to niche markets with smaller budgets. At the same time, torrents of data are being generated. We believe big data brings many new opportunities. McKinsey and Accenture have both pointed out until the industry restructures sales and marketing and stops treating digital as a ‘bolt-on,’ they will continue to struggle. For clinical trials sponsors, understanding the value of an individual physician, learning how to engage him or her in their channel of choice via their preferred communications method and being able to measure their engagement in real-time, gives marketers the opportunity to create meaningful relationships. Trial sponsors that understand the value of their physician audience and leverage it in their recruiting efforts will have an unfair advantage over their competitors.”
Presently, 85 percent of clinical trials are delayed because of poor patient enrollment. “We are working with inVentiv Health to assure the trials they are conducting will fill quickly,” says Gullapalli. “With more engaged investigators will come higher patient recruitment. If we look at the reasons for that 85 percent delay, a few stand out as being addressable via our platform. Once we discover prospective investigators, our platform can drive engagement on the patient front as well, via automated, closed-loop messaging. We can create portals for particular studies and utilize several of our social engines to execute lead nurturing tactics to drive patient awareness and participation, and to better connect the physician to the patient once enrolled. Efficiency is the biggest hurdle, and Medikly is, in many ways, clinical trial recruitment efficiency in-a-box.”
Posted: August 2013