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Advance Your Pharmacovigilance Services, Step by Step

Step-wise improvements using artificial intelligence and machine learning can greatly benefit the capabilities of your pharmacovigilance services.

UBC was proud to participate in the World Drug Safety Congress Americas last week as a platinum sponsor. This robust event covered a wide range of topics related to pharmacovigilance and risk management. Members of our Safety and Risk Management team attended the event and Jim Shamp, Vice President of Data Intelligence and Program Analytics for Examoto, a UBC Company, participated in a panel about the future of REMS technology and vendor relationships.

One theme of the event was the need for a step-wise approach to modernizing safety operations. Some may consider pharmacovigilance to be a commodity, with case processing and signal detection/management as necessary, rote processes. This mindset can result in a lesser focus on innovation. There are, however, steps that can be taken to optimize pharmacovigilance operations and maximize patient safety.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are two areas of focus for improving pharmacovigilance processes. Regulatory bodies have also shown a willingness to encourage these advancements. To maximize the effectiveness of these new technologies and approaches, these systems require a certain quantity of data to “train” them and high data quality to be usable. It will often be necessary to build your new system in parallel to your fully traditional systems until you can verify that the new system is consistently producing reliable and valid results. Another key point to keep in mind is the collaboration required to institute change across an organizational process.  Business leads and even technical staff won’t always fully understand the pain points experienced by the pharmacovigilance and safety teams and where AI and ML can improve daily activities. Open lines of communication and multidisciplinary team collaboration are needed to ensure success. The role of quality assurance is also critical to avoid undue stress when instituting safety improvements.

Lastly, start small. By identifying clear, addressable steps towards improvement that can be automated with a low coding burden, the change starts and momentum builds. Over time, your pharmacovigilance function will see clear benefits and improvement.

UBC’s approach to Safety and Risk Management stems from our epidemiological, multidisciplinary foundation. Our commitment to Patients First has driven us to balance high-tech solutions with a personalized, experienced touch in our services. To start a discussion around our Safety and Epidemiology Consulting, Pharmacovigilance, or REMS services, click here.

About the Author

Michael Bulgrien is a Data Analytics Project Manager at UBC. With over 21 years of experience in healthcare software, Michael applies his healthcare data analytics expertise to designing and implementing code-based algorithms that utilize administrative claims, EMR, and spontaneous adverse event reporting data sets.

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Bekki Bracken Brown serves as the President and CEO of UBC, guiding the company’s mission and values, including the improvement of access for patients to receive better outcomes. She oversees all aspects of UBC, such as operations, business growth strategy, sales and marketing, and acquisition support.

With over 20 years of industry experience, Ms. Brown brings knowledge from a successful career in senior management from her tenure at Quintiles, INC Research, and, most recently, with Syneos Health. She’s been a member of the North Carolina BIO Board of Directors since 2019. She is also a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association — Southeast Chapter and CHIEF, an organization that supports women executive leaders. Ms. Brown earned her bachelor’s degree at Duke University.