Category: Editorial

How Technology Is Improving Success Rates In Drug Clinical Trials

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Most people don’t realize that it can take up to 15 years and an average of $1 billion to $2 billion dollars just to get one drug developed, pass clinical trials and ultimately approved by the Federal Drug Association (FDA). In fact, the sobering truth is that up to 90% of all clinical drug trials fail

Considering this, it’s actually nothing short of a miracle that the COVID-19 vaccine was approved within just two years. In truth, COVID-19 changed medical research and drug development radically in that it kick-started a lot of innovations in technology. Today, technological advancements are allowing pharmaceutical scientists and laboratories to reduce the alarmingly high failure rates of clinical drug trials. 

Why Do Most Drugs Fail in Clinical Trials?

Faced with the reality that only one in ten drugs pass regulatory approval and clinical trial testing, intense research continues to investigate the reason for this. According to an analysis published by Nature News, researchers determined that clinical efficacy was the culprit for almost half of all failures. In other words, the drugs simply didn’t work or did not render the intended effect in patients.

Research also showed that approximately 30% of drugs failed late stage clinical trials because they produced unacceptable toxic levels, and/or they triggered intolerable side effects. 

As if these barriers to approval weren’t enough, another 10% of all drugs never pass muster simply because there is no commercial interest, therefore they lack funding to bring them into the medical marketplace. Last but not least, ineffective planning and poor lab strategies are also factors that thwart drugs from graduating to fully approved status.

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The Solution To Health Equity Begins with Addressing The Health Ecosystem

By Rondy Jennings, managing director of the not-for-profit healthcare group at Goldman Sachs & Co and a founding member of the Black Directors Health Equity Agenda.

Health equity has taken years to move from the drawing board to the waiting room, but the pandemic has revealed the daunting scale and fierce urgency of moving to value-based care. Consider the cost of disparate access to care as borne in COVID’s severity among Black adults.

In cases where we know the patient’s race, the rate of COVID-19 related hospitalization for Blacks has proven to be 2.5 times that of whites. If that holds true for all cases, racial disparity has accounted for 350,000 extra Black coronavirus patients through 2021. Conservatively assuming a hospital charge of $20,000 for each patient, that translates to about $7 billion. Even that substantial cost does not reflect the implications of tens of thousands of needless deaths in the Black community.

What would it take to eliminate this disparity, and many others that could change the lives of Black populations? Clearly, a more equitable healthcare system would improve outcomes across the board by reducing the impact of infectious diseases, premature birth and chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. But to get Black health outcomes in line with the population as a whole, we must examine the obstacles that stand in the way and the lasting changes a shift to a value-based system will produce in health equity.

Driving to the Center of Health Equity

First, let’s turn to the scale of the healthcare ecosystem.  U.S. healthcare spending grew in 2020 to $4.1 trillion or $12,530 per person. As a share of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 19.7%—one dollar in five. This ecosystem labors under entrenched business models that predate digital technology, data analytics and the internet. In 2020 overall, spending on hospital care reached $1.3 trillion; physician and clinical services, $809.5 billion; prescription drugs, $348.4 billion; and home health care, $123.7 billion.

High-tech entrepreneurs have been very nimble in finding opportunities at the margins. While they can’t tackle the whole ecosystem, they can go after various pieces of it and still create an incredibly successful company without addressing the ripple effects outside their domain. If we think of healthcare as a battleship fleet in desperate need of overhaul, think of the tech disruptors as repairing the hull one weld at a time, oblivious to the condition above deck.  Where is the central thrust to overhaul the healthcare system as a whole in a way that creates health equity?

Fortunately, the imperative for change is gaining momentum. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, for example, is developing promising, value-based innovation models that reward care for underserved populations. They revolve around taking care of people not only on an episodic basis—as with hospitalization or chemotherapy—but also over time. Costs are lowered because the focus is proactive and preventative. Value-based care is not driven by a person’s quality of insurance. It offers a financial incentive to provide preventive care, which addresses social determinants of health, as well as exposure to personal risks.

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Inato Appoints CSO Liz Beatty To Board of Directors

Liz Beatty

Inato, a clinical trial platform for community sites, today announced the appointment of Liz Beatty to its Board of Directors. Beatty brings decades of experience in leadership and clinical trial management, along with over three years of hands-on experience serving as Inato’s chief strategy officer.

Since joining Inato in 2019, Beatty has focused on advancing the company’s corporate strategy, driving commercial growth with sites and pharmaceutical companies, and establishing Inato’s United States organization as the US General Manager. During this time, the company has formed key commercial relationships with more than half a dozen of the top-30 global pharmaceutical companies and added more than 1,300 community-research sites to its network.

“Liz’s vision has been instrumental in shaping Inato’s growth and pursuing our mission of bringing clinical trial access to patients around the globe,” said Kourosh Davarpanah, CEO & co-founder of Inato. “We are thrilled to welcome her to the Board, and I know her deep experience and insights will continue to be invaluable.”

“As a thoughtful leader, Liz has spearheaded conversations on improving inclusivity in clinical trials and worked tirelessly to ensure Inato’s platform is making a positive impact for underserved patients,” said Nan Li, Inato Board member and Venture Partner at Obvious Ventures. “Her passion and unique perspective bring diverse experience and understanding to Inato’s Board.”

“I am honored to join Inato’s Board of Directors,” said Liz Beatty. “I truly appreciate the board’s confidence and look forward to working with the team to continue driving Inato’s mission forward at such a critical time for our industry.”

Beatty has vast experience in trial planning, protocol management, and digital technology. Prior to joining Inato, she headed digital clinical trials at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she led digital innovation efforts across Global Clinical Operations.

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How To Make Your Daily Life Easier When Working In Healthcare

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The healthcare industry currently accounts for 14% of all US workers, employing about 22 million professionals across different sectors. However, despite this and the unquestionable importance of the industry, it is underfunded, understaffed, and underappreciated. 

As a result, those working in the healthcare industry are more likely than ever to feel stressed or overwhelmed at work. In fact, a recent study found that 66% of healthcare professionals feel stressed on a daily basis. This is alarming when you consider the price of disengaged healthcare workersboth in terms of patient care and burnout.

As a result, it is crucial that healthcare staff can find as many ways as possible to make their daily lives easier. This will improve workplace productivity and efficiency while also enabling them to care for their mental health.

With that in mind, here are some simple ways in which you can achieve that goal! 

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Five Security Predictions Facing Healthcare Organizations In 2022

Dirk Schrader

By Dirk Schrader, resident CISO (EMEA) and vice president of security research, Netwrix.

Ransomware is steadily increasing each and every year, with the healthcare and hospital industries suffering among the most. In 2021, we saw that “The healthcare sector is seeing the highest volumes of ransomware attempts, averaging 109 attempts per entity, every week.”

Why is this sector being targeted specifically? They hold extremely sensitive patient data and information. Hackers are working more diligently than ever to find data, threaten hospitals and providers, and even extort individuals themselves. With such a high amount of cybercrime, how can this sector protect itself and its patients? To start, by learning about security trends and working to implement them where they can.

Here are five security trends we’ll see more of in 2022:

Cybercriminals will be increasingly greedy.

In 2022 attackers will search for new ways to monetize the access to large data troves. This may lead to changes in the tactics, techniques and procedures of threat actors. They will begin to extort individuals rather than the infiltrated companies themselves. The healthcare industry is especially prone to this trend. The data generated and held by a healthcare sector is life-changing for many people and can easily be misused.

Consider this possible scenario: by extracting and aggregating personal data about hundreds of thousands of diabetic patients (34.2 million people alone are diabetic in the US), threat actors might try to ‘offer’ cheaper drugs to the individual patients, extracting money from a highly vulnerable group. If such a scheme can trick, let’s say, ten thousand victims to pay $500 for Insulin (instead of about $1,000 on average), the amount of money on the table is substantial.

Medical device IoT will create more security gaps.

More and more medical devices are being connected using vulnerable IP stacks or old webserver packages which cannot be easily patched as it would jeopardize the devices certification for medical use. In 2017, around 10 billion medical devices were connected to the internet, with an expected jump to 50 billion by 2027. While this connectivity has created so much opportunity for advances in the medical field, it has also created a new set of vulnerabilities.

Frequently, the task of configuring a medical device is considered done when it operates within the parameters of the medical process it is supposed to support or enable. Any additional security aspects are overlooked and often neglected. As long as these medical and IoT devices remain unmanaged, unmonitored and improperly updated, this exposure risk will continue to be exploited by threat actors throughout 2022 and beyond.

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4 High-Paying Jobs In Public Health You Should Know About

Man Doing A Sample Test In The Laboratory

The public health industry has many options for lucrative careers. However, employers prefer candidates who have relevant experience and a higher education degree in public health.

Career options and salaries vary depending on several factors. Some factors include the location, cost of living and the company you’ll choose to work for eventually. To make it easier for you, we’ve listed the most lucrative careers for those interested in pursuing a career in public health.

Before Choosing a Career

Nowadays, to get any job, you are required to have, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree. Public health is no exception. The minimum requirement for having a successful career in public health is a bachelor’s in public health or BPH.

You can choose to major in health administration, nursing, or informatics. Although it is not required to work in the field, most employees have a master’s in public health or MPH to qualify for higher positions in public health.

Most industry professionals in the public and private sectors recommend getting an MPH, which offers specializations in a variety of fields like epidemiology, global health, community health, and environmental health, among others.

One of the best universities that offer an MPH program is Lamar University. They provide an online MPH program, which is convenient for people who are too busy to attend universities. The program is 24 months long, with a total cost of $13,629. The last and final degree in public health is Doctor of Public Health or DPH, ideal for those who want to become college professors or assume a research position.

If you’ve earned a Master’s degree in public health, deciding your role can be confusing. Following are high-paying jobs in public health you should apply for.

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7 Survival Tips For Travel Nurses

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Nursing can be an exciting profession if you opt to become a travel nurse since you’ll always be on the go. Still, the job comes with some unique challenges associated with the niche that may turn your life upside down. You probably opted for this profession for the perks it offers. But, if you are here, it means you are growing weary of your routine and finding it difficult to cope. But don’t fret; we are here to help!

While it may seem appealing at first, a travel nurse’s job is demanding and physiologically taxing. Leaving your family for new assignments, settling in unfamiliar places, pinning down grocery stores and gyms, and finding healthy meals along the way is not easy. Whether you are a rookie travel nurse or a seasoned one with a few years of experience under your belt, you find this relatable, right?

However, you can make your new journey easier by sticking to a few survival tips. Keep reading to find a few of these and adopt the ones you find helpful.

Choose the right study program

If you plan to further your education alongside continuing your nursing practice- which you should, consider online education. It will level up your nursing practice and help you achieve the ideal work-life balance. As healthcare keeps evolving, nurses must be skilled in various areas to compete in the increasing competition.

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Why Healthcare Interoperability Is So Important In 2022

Lisa Esch

By Lisa Esch, chief of strategy, innovation and provider industry solutions, NTT DATA Services.

The current state of our healthcare system is in disarray. Healthcare organizations are overworked and understaffed as they deal with the ongoing pandemic resulting in half of all healthcare workers reporting they’ve experienced burnout during this time.

Technology has the potential to solve these challenges, and as more digital health options become available, healthcare practitioners are using more tools that allow them to work more quickly and better serve patients.

Unfortunately, most health technology is developed in a vacuum creating silos of critical information inaccessible and unconnected in caring for patients. Disjointed and disconnected services result in key pieces of information not being available at the time and place required, and productivity can be impacted when healthcare practitioners have to navigate multiple source systems to retrieve data. In turn, this impacts the number of patients that can be seen in a given period and can potentially put human lives on the line if medically critical data is inaccessible in an emergency.

The healthcare community is beginning to embrace a solution to this problem: interoperability. Let’s explore what this means for healthcare providers and why it’s so important in the disorganized, digital healthcare system of 2022.

What’s healthcare interoperability? Why does it matter? 

Interoperability services and tools bridge the gap between incompatible systems and data sets, providing a more seamless experience for both patient and provider. It has two primary definitions:

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4 Steps To Offering Even Better Care For Your Patients

Agree, Agreement, Asian, Black, BusinessYour patients should always be a top priority when working in healthcare and when you’re a healthcare provider. You must be able to meet their needs and work toward improving their health and wellness over time.

It’s in your best interest to continue to find ways for enhancing how you run your practice and making sure you and your staff are on the same page. There are some best practices you can apply to ensure you meet this goal.

Learn about four steps to offering even better care for your patients so you and they can have a positive experience.

1. Actively Listen

Start by asking the right questions as soon as your patient enters your office. You not only need to know what to ask but then take the time to actively listen to the response. Show respect by letting them talk and then summarizing or repeating back what you heard. Take notes and make sure that you document what is said and how they’re feeling. Offer even better care for your patients by providing emotional support when it’s appropriate and expressing gratitude for them coming to you for their healthcare needs.

2. Do Your Homework & Be Knowledgeable

When you work in healthcare you should always be knowledgeable and up to speed about the latest and greatest technologies, products, and treatments out there. Always do your homework to make sure you know about a wide range of solutions and treatments from medications to what the best hearing aids are on the market. The patient is coming to you because they trust that you’ll be able to appropriately and successfully address their needs and find a treatment plan that works.

3. Involve Family or Friends

It can also be very useful and beneficial to get the patient’s family or friends involved in their care as well. While they may hesitate at first, you might want to encourage and push it if you feel like it will be good for them. Sometimes it can be daunting to be all alone when you receive news about your health or are dealing with a particular health condition or ailment. Make it a point to get whoever you feel needs and should be involved in the discussion made aware of the situation so that you can work together to treat your patient in the best way possible. It may even require that you coordinate care with other providers as well.

4. Create the Ideal Patient Experience

Another step to offering even better care for your patients is to look at the overall picture of the patient experience. Improve it by cutting down waiting times, having an attractive and comfortable office to visit, and making sure you always follow up and show you care. It may also be that you start to offer telehealth services at your clinic if patients are unable to visit you in person for any number of reasons. Always be thinking of ways you can do better in this area and ask for feedback often so you know what you’re doing right and can identify additional opportunities for improvement. 

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Bridging The Digital Divide In Rural Areas

Bill Thompson

By Bill Thomson, vice president of marketing and product manager, DC BLOX.

In South Carolina, many residents are plagued by the unavailability of high-speed broadband connections. Despite 91.5% of the state’s residents having the ability to access wired connection speeds of up to 25 Mbps, 344,000 do not have a broadband connection that supports these speeds, while another 171,000 lack access completely.

To further this issue, many South Carolina residents have no choice when it comes to their broadband provider. In the state, 116 broadband providers operate yet more than half a million South Carolinians have only one option available, limiting competitive choices. The problem is much worse when you consider that even 25 Mbps, the speed that the FCC considers to be broadband, is too slow to support many of today’s applications.

Without reliable high-speed connectivity, healthcare facilities are unable to transport large diagnostic images, students are unable to access their education online, and businesses are unable to leverage cloud services for best-in-class solutions. These gaps place rural communities at a distinct disadvantage compared to metropolitan and suburban communities. As the public health crisis continues to evolve, these obstacles are amplified as remote work remains the norm for many companies and virtual learning is required for many students.

While access to the internet for educational and business purposes is essential, perhaps even more important is meeting the healthcare needs of rural communities. Across the country, there have been 138 closures of rural hospitals since 2010, including four in South Carolina. These hospitals play an essential role in the community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to deliver necessary medical services. As it becomes more difficult for rural Americans to access healthcare locally, many will turn to telehealth for routine care. Without access to high-speed broadband services, it makes it nearly impossible to access much-needed healthcare services.

Additionally, as the public health crisis continues to bring uncertainty to communities across the United States, a portion of South Carolina schools continue to operate under either fully remote or hybrid classroom environments. If students at these schools are unable to access course materials because they don’t have the same broadband access as their urban and suburban counterparts, they are at a severe disadvantage.

What is needed to address the challenges of rural communities is digital infrastructure. High-speed fiber-optic networks need to be laid within the rural communities, and then those local networks need to be connected to the Internet through local peering points and to other service providers to gain access to a variety of digital services.

Companies like DC BLOX are currently building digital infrastructure in regions that have been traditionally underserved. Cities like Greenville South Carolina and Birmingham Alabama are benefitting from state-of-the-art data centers and network exchanges that facilitate data connectivity for entities in their areas. For rural communities nearby, electric cooperatives are often taking on the responsibility to deploy broadband services. With robust digital infrastructure in the vicinity, cooperatives can partner with these providers to accelerate their broadband projects and improve the reliability of their services.

Through these initiatives, as well as the potential infrastructure investments from the federal government, bringing broadband access to underserved communities is accelerating. People will be able to access needed medical care and educational resources, and businesses will be able to grow. In the end, everyone benefits when these communities become connected and the digital divide is closed.

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