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Powering patient choice: harnessing the wider potential of IDMP

Powering patient choice: harnessing the wider potential of IDMP


Frits Stulp of Iperion – a Deloitte business, outlines ambitions for a new era of informed choice for patients, physicians and other stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem – if pharma companies take the right decisions now about data-driven process transformation.
Editor: PharmiWeb Editor Last Updated: 24-Nov-2021

The ISO IDMP data standards currently being implemented across the EU offer an important facilitator for change in the way that patients, and stakeholders right across the healthcare ecosystem, will engage with and choose treatments in future - as long as the industry encompasses the potential as part of current internal IT and process revisions.

Empowering patients & frontline health workers

The internet is connecting all kinds of healthcare stakeholders to the information they need now. Examples range from sick students instinctively ordering flu treatments via Amazon on their phones, to cancer nurses Googling oncology-specific advice around drug interactions where such information isn’t readily to hand. Such scenarios are likely to become increasingly common too, as demands grow for patients to have informed influence over their own care.

The pharma industry must respond by working towards providing information in a readily and useable format across these real-world use cases, while regulatory agencies must prepare to act as the ‘go-to’ place for approved information.

Among the enabling mechanisms are agreed data standards like ISO IDMP for medicinal products, currently being implemented in the EU but with growing support internationally – facilitating the provision of accessible and reliable information in an agreed global format, which can be understood by clinicians, pharmacists and the general public (as well as regulators, payers, insurers and so on). In due course, consideration for all stakeholders will be essential for life sciences companies, and their IDMP plans and decisions today will be instrumental in dictating how well they can adapt to the new world of more transparent healthcare that is centred around the patient.

Achieving health literacy for all

The not-for-profit organisation, CTADHL, has made it a mission to promote a new era of ‘health literacy’ through global collaboration and partnerships. Among its activities, it is working towards harmonisation and adoption of ISO IDMP around the world. We’re also seeing a lot more clinical discussion now about the need for cross-border prescribing, aided by an interoperable data set which describes medicines in a uniform way from country to country so that prescriptions from other territories can be understood and exact equivalents identified.

As biopharma innovation becomes more mainstream, and as more personalised treatments feature more commonly, more tailored information on drug suitability and counter-indications will become important. Unless each variant of a product has its own data stamp, clinicians won’t be able to safely prescribe it. At the same time, patients will increasingly expect to more fully understand for themselves the characteristics of products, the available alternatives and how these compare, and how a given product addresses or targets their situation. Standardised data will be essential in enabling all of this.

Putting patients first

So where are pharma companies today in regard to this new global, data-enabled healthcare ecosystem? Although some are working hard to provide better resources for their customers, in many cases the gap between the information provided by pharma brands and what patients actually need remains considerable.

Currently, it tends to be the market regulators - as labelling/leaflet gatekeepers and public guardians - rather than the pharma companies themselves that are advocating for patient-centricity in published patient information. To change the emphasis, software needs to embrace the use of data standards, enabling better insights, actionable reporting on adverse drug events, product shortages, and more.

Keeping a broad perspective when rolling out IDMP projects is an important first step in staying open to optimal external information provision and international data exchange across global healthcare ecosystems. Other opportunities include greater integration with patient forums, where permitted, so that pharma companies can meet current and future customers where they are and provide relevant and helpful information to them at the point of need.

Calling on biotechs to showcase best practice

For pharma companies, proactive interventions in the form of better external information which is fit for purpose will help build stronger and more trusted relationships, by demonstrating that their priority and focus is the health and wellbeing of patients.

It could turn out to be biotechs/biopharma startups that lead the way, thanks to their relative freedom - unencumbered by legacy products, data and regulatory records. These companies aren’t likely to be as dependent on expensive, specialist tools. Rather they will be able to take advantage of a fresh approach to object-based information, external collaboration and harmonised data exchange, underpinned by IDMP.

Given that these data standards are something all companies must embrace, it follows that these more dynamic companies could be the first to take data-based process innovation to the next level – showing the more established players what’s possible.