Why Clinical Research?
“Why” is a common question asked by runners, generally asked to themselves or asked by non-runners. “Why do you run?” As the distance becomes longer, the answer becomes more curious. Why would you run a marathon or 50 miles or 100 miles? The answer to “why run” has as many answers as there are runners.
The same can be said of “why clinical research?” Some have stumbled into it. Some have purposely pursued it. The reasons are as varied as the “why run” question.
This morning, I read a post from a high school friend. This man is a runner and as much as he has run, he has given just as much back to the sport in varying ways. Without going into details, he was recently diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. It made me sad but got me thinking about why I am in clinical research.
During my run this morning, I pondered the question and related it to why I run. Among many reasons, I run because it makes me feel good and for the same reasoning maybe that is why I have spent nearly 25 years in clinical research. Of course, the ensuing questions is, “why does it make me feel good?” The answer to this not only relates to my friend with Parkinson’s but to many other friends and relatives with diseases, illnesses, and other conditions. No human is immune from either having health challenges or knowing someone with health challenges. Personally, I know people with skin cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis, COPD, Fibromyalgia, Leukemia, depression, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, degenerative disc disease, knee, hip, shoulder replacements, stenosis, and likely others. I can name these conditions and the people with them without thinking very hard. This is the “why clinical research” answer.
I spent a few years on the sponsor side in data management back when double data entry and edit checks printed out on green bar paper were innovative. I then found my way to the vendor side via a meandering path (much like running where you’re not quite sure where you are going until you get there) which is where technology innovation was happening. Medidata (EDC), ClinPhone (RTSM, CTMS), Exco InTouch (ePRO/eCOA and Outcomes) and now PHARMASEAL (CTMS/Monitoring Oversight/Governance). These are certainly not the only innovative technology companies in the industry but just the ones that I have worked for but they all have or will have changed the industry. Each of these companies offering something new and innovative to the industry to make things better, allowing clinical research to be more efficient and effective with the result of getting life-saving drugs, therapies and devices to the market faster or allowing patients to have better quality of life. You may say it’s a stretch that these technology solutions have had an impact like this. However, these companies were at the forefront of doing something differently in an industry that doesn’t like change. I will go as far to say that the industry is hampered by lack of embracing change. It either comes slowly or not at all and those that suffer are patients with the conditions mentioned previously. If the industry really wants to be patient-centric that it purports to want, then it needs to embrace change and innovation through technological solutions that affect the fine people in clinical research that in turn affect patients. The reason that I worked for these companies and currently work at PHARMASEAL is that I knew that they could and continue to have an impact on my relatives and friends with health issues. It is an exciting time in the industry with advances in technology. By education and experience, I am a technologist, not a physician or nurse, or clinical researcher so my focus is bringing technology to the industry. I am also not the best pure salesperson in the world because I don’t want to sell just to meet quota; I sell to solve a problem, to be a helper, to see success in the industry so that the companies and the people that I sell to can ultimately find cures or have a better quality of life for the people I love. This is the essence of “why clinical research.”
Many thanks for reading, please reply with any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Shilling, VP Business Development