Reflections from ISPOR Annual Meeting


Author of readmissions reduction article looking at the camera

Matt Allison
Senior Manager, Research and Grants

Time: 10 min


“Uber yourself before you get Kodaked”  

-Daniel Kraft, MD at ISPOR 2019


ISPOR 2019 brought together health economic and outcomes research (HEOR) leaders from across the globe in New Orleans. Discussions included the regulation and approval of new medical devices, transparency with real world evidence analysis, and the economics of drug pricing. However, the conference centered around one overall theme: disruptive technology.

Defining Disruptive Healthcare Technology

Disruptive health technology comes in many forms, from curative treatments and revolutionary medical devices, to new software applications and the growing real-world dataset. There is more data available than ever before from electronic health records, wearable devices, and patient reported outcomes. But, questions remain on how these datasets can be used to help transform healthcare. An immediate solution can be found in the augmentation of analytics to gain insights into the needs of a patient population.

What can data do for healthcare?

During the opening session, Timothy Caulfield highlighted the problem that data is not enough to change behaviors of patients or doctors. Research has repeatedly shown that awareness alone not lead to large scale behavior change. Behavior change is not just a knowledge gap, but something far more complex. The move to connected digital health will exponentially grow our understanding of disease and behavior. Driving change outcomes is a whole different ballgame. How do we leverage our understanding to drive changes at a population and individual level?

Data drives policy

Dr. Marc Berger, who won the 2019 ISPOR Avedis Donabedian Lifetime achievement award, published Looking Backward: The Rise and Fall of the RCT. This paper calls for the use of larger scale data to be used to aid regulatory and governance decisions in the future, and adds onto the 2017 FDA guidance. Real-world data offers many benefits over randomized controlled trials (RCT). This includes lower-cost data availability, information omitted from trials, less common drug side effects, and large sample sizes unavailable in RCTs.

Data drives awareness

Healthcare is experiencing a data revolution.  Theoretically, the more data collected, the more patterns and trends that can be identified. However, “big data” in healthcare has lagged behind other industries. This is due, in part, to privacy concerns, siloed data, and slow adoption of health IT.  During the session, How Should Data on Social Determinants of Health be Best Used to Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Disparities?, the panelists outlined the use of real-world data to uncover issues in health disparities. This helped provide a greater understanding of which social determinants of health issues are driving outcomes.

Closing Thoughts

The conference brought together the best HEOR minds from around the globe. It was great to see the passion and insights that the years of experience from attendees.  However, I left ISPOR 2019 with one primary question on my mind. How do we use data and bring it from knowledge to something of greater utility? Disruptive technologies, “big data”, or real-world evidence are transformative opportunities for healthcare. Unfortunately, until that information can help regulators, clinicians, and patients make better decisions, it will not have met its full potential.


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