Take aways from the Disruptive Innovation in Clinical Trials Conference

Disruptive Innovation in Clinical Trials #Clinical2014

We’ve started some great new business as a result of a conversation I had at the recent Disruptive Innovation in Clinical Trials meeting conference on ‘Game Changing Innovation for Clinical Development Leaders” that I presented at a fortnight ago (10-11 March 2014) so please excuse the delay in getting this posted.

Here are a few thoughts, pics and video clips that I hope share with you some of my experience:

It’s typical for me to find myself addressing audiences that have iPhones/Galaxy’s. Spotting a Sharp GX20 (a phone that first appeared in the market more than a decade ago) I realised this might not be the easiest audience I’ve ever talked to about mHealth…

Disruptive Innovation in Clinical Trials Audience #Clinical2014

Kathy Goin leads the ‘RBM Game’ a ‘Non-threatening, low risk approach to understanding risk based monitoring’ inspired by the ‘Nothing ever happens on my block’ book for children by Ellen Raskin. The room was broken into groups and asked to identify the risks an 8 year old faces walking home from school, there was even a video to help the delegates get the idea. In conclusion the delegates were encouraged to migrate to a ‘Risk Based Approach’ in their work.

Just listening to the delegates gave me incredible insights into the way execs in the Clinical Trial industry think. Don’t underestimate how preoccupied and consumed with avoiding risk this industry appears to be an enormous struggle to see the opportunity to take the same risk based approach that they took when deciding to fly to London for the conference…

Kathy Goin leads the RBM Game #Clinical2014

Alain Bindels, Global CSR Narrative Leader at Roche gave a talk on “Using mobile technology in Clinical Trials’ and a key mHealth takeaway was encouraging delegates to prioritise getting started:


It’s interesting that only the Pharma industry events do people still get excited about COWs (Computers on Wheels). IBM is even running ads making fun of them but Alain’s happy to talk about how they make “Telemedecine” a reality…

Alain Bindels talking about COWs and Telemedecine #Clinical2014

With a call to involve IT as early as possible and strong concerns raised about the complexity of the ‘connectors’ and the standards used it surprises me that a company like Roche isn’t talking up it’s investment and commitment to the Continua Health Alliance (now part of the Personal Connected Health Alliance):

Personal Connected Health Alliance Website

Dr Ben Goldacre, GP, Founder of the All Trials campaign and author of Bad Pharma – a book that wakes many clinical trial industry execs in the middle of the night in a cold sweat – is a very accomplished speaker and it didn’t surprise me that he completely packed the conference room – even the sales reps from the exhibition floor closed their IBM Thinkpads and jostled in at the back of the room to hear his talk introduced by Prof Trevor Jones, Director, Allergan and Former Director General of the ABPI:

He also didn’t disappoint on the Q&A panel that followed and I’m looking forward to again being in the audience at his ‘Imagine the Future of Medicine’ talk at the Albert Hall in London next month.

Here’s my slide deck (the video of my talk will be posted soon on the Conference organisers YouTube page – revisit this page as the link will be added here):

A tweet from @JoshPines during my talk:

Joshpines mHealth discussing the disruptive nature of skype on Clinical Trials #Clinical2014

A drawing made by TwoVisualThinkers.info during my talk:

TwoVisualThinkers artwork from Disruptive innovation in Clinical Trials 2014

We’ve already been asked to be involved again in next years event. Dates for your diary are 10-11th March 2015 – don’t hesitate to let me know via the comments (your comments will remain private and won’t be published) if you’d like a personal introduction to the organisers to learn about how you can get involved as a speaker or sponsor.

About David Doherty

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4 Responses to Take aways from the Disruptive Innovation in Clinical Trials Conference

  1. David, I absolutely agree with you that the future of clinical trials is to be found in patient communities. Were there are patients speaking at this event?

    • Hi Marie,

      Obviously I’d very much count myself as a Patient but I imagine most of the speakers had also experienced being a Patient at some time in their lives (I was probably the youngest speaker at the event and the average age was probably 50+).

  2. Just thought I’d ask. Often conferences talk about patient centered care, etc, but don’t invite patient advocates to speak. I am familiar with some of the work being done by patients in the area of clinical trials and think it would be of great value to have someone speak who has direct experience of using social media to recruit and crowdsource support for trials.

    • I think there will for some time be an issue about execs in this industry talking about themselves as Patients because this is an industry that (as mentioned above) is clearly ‘preoccupied and consumed with avoiding risk’.

      Most of the speakers at this particular event were either execs for big Pharma brands or professional service providers for the Pharmaceutical industry. I personally think it’s a brilliant idea to hire Patients (I’ve never hired anyone who isn’t) but to many in the Clinical Trail industry the idea of hiring a Patient is probably even today way too left field and risky an idea. No wonder they get back only 70p on every £1 they invest in Clinical Trials!!!

      PS We’ve got direct experience of using social media to recruit for Clinical Trials eg. a NHS Hospital we’re working with has been recruiting Patients via their Facebook group for years. It’s proven to be a very easy way of identifying Patients who want to use their own mobile devices to manage their health.

      Would you like me to introduce you to the organisers as a potential speaker for next years meeting?

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