The Evolving Role of Technology in Pharma
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The Evolving Role of Technology in Pharma

By Aarti Shah, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Eli Lilly and Company

Aarti Shah, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Eli Lilly and Company

The potential of technology to significantly improve the healthcare ecosystem is enormous. Within the pharmaceutical industry, technology powers all aspects of drug development – from discovery to development, manufacturing and how we connect with our customers. It enables us to develop new medicines better, faster and at lower costs.

At Lilly, our purpose is to unite caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world.We believe technology will play an even bigger role in the future to deliver on this purpose. To underscore the value Lilly is placing on technology, since I became CIO in 2016, the scope of the role has expanded. Notably, by elevating the position to the Executive Committee and extending the responsibilities to include digital health, advanced analytics and data sciences and information security – this underscores the power we believe data, analytics and technology together can unleash to decrease cycle times and cost of drug development, increase probalility of technical success and provide enhanced customer experience and satisfaction. This is a trend we are seeing across many industries as IT elevates its role as a strategic business partner.

Digital health is Key to the Future of Healthcare

We are in a new era in healthcare where patients, providers and payors expect more information, support, and value for medicines than ever before. For example, people are already using technology to manage or improve their health, such as tracking steps or monitoring heart rate using wearables and apps.

We are investing in collaborations, various technologies and digital capabilities to maximize the impact of our medicines by reaching people at the right time with the right information through the right channels"

To meet these demands, we see significant opportunities to use new digital tools and technologies, combined with our medicines, to empower patients to better manage their health. We know that today for many chronic illnesses, a significant percentage of patients do not achieve optimal results, and this could be due to a number of factors.

We are investing in collaborations, various technologies and digital capabilities to maximize the impact of our medicines by reaching people at the right time with the right information through the right channels. Ultimately, we strive to help patients achieve better health.

Big Data and Advanced Analytics Opportunities

We are also invested in leveraging data and analytics capabilities, machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and other important technologies and analytical tools across our enterprise to meet the needs of patients, customers and employees.

Our data and analytics teams take large number of diverse datasets and turn them into actionable insights that accelerate every aspect of drug development from discovery to ultimately delivering them to the people who need them most.

Our efforts are beginning to take shape. For example,Lilly has significantly improved the speed of its drug development activities and reduced the average cycle time from first human dose of a potential new medicine to commercial launch by over two years. Additionally, there has been a steady improvement in the success rate of phase 3 molecules (potential medicines in late stage clinical trials) in Lilly’s pipeline. Additionally, we are leveraging data, analytics and technology to improve drive efficiency and strategic value across many of our businesses processes and key.transformation initiatives.

From an industry perspective, while progress has been made, there are challenges and room for optimization. As the speed and volume at which data is being generated is expounding, managing all that data is a challenge. There are data in legacy systems and in silos. There’s disparity of data sources and many data types (text, speech, images) and it takes effort, time and resources to find, access, consume and process all this data to convert to information and eventually to knowledge. Above all, information security and privacy must always be the top priority.

As we enter this new era, I strongly believe that Lilly’s prioritization of data and analytics, digital health, and other digital technologies and advanced capabilities across the organization will lead to bold transformations in how we discover, develop and deliver our medicines, and help make life better for people around the world.

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