Evidence: AstraZeneca and a new kind of science

Real-world evidence studies help identify the health and cost impact of treatments on patients.

The conventional view of pharmaceutical innovation is the discovery of novel molecules in the lab that can be developed into medicines that help people get well and feel better.

But in today’s challenging and complex health care environment, the medicines we deliver must not only be safe and efficacious, they must produce outcomes that matter to patients, payers, and providers.

Recent advances in health information technologies such as electronic health records, electronic medical records and other systems have made it possible for us to go beyond the conventional and answer the ultimate research question, “How can we improve overall patient health while managing the total cost of care?”

As we noted here in February, AstraZeneca has begun a new collaboration with HealthCore, the health outcomes research subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc., to conduct real-world studies designed to determine how to most effectively and economically treat disease.

So just what do we mean by a “real-world” study? Unlike controlled clinical trials, real-world evidence studies use data generated from the use and purchase of health care services and treatments. This data is accessed through sources such as electronic medical records, claims information and patient surveys. By examining data associated with the delivery of care, real-world analyses can assess treatment impact on hospital length of stay, readmissions, overall health status, cost of care and other key evidence-based outcomes.

This week, and in the future, we’ll be taking a look at different ways evidence can help us identify the health and cost impact of treatments on patients, while also highlighting areas of unmet patient needs.

We’re excited to be engaged at the forefront of the new science of real-world evidence and hope you will join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #RWEv.

Part two of the series can be found here.