”Everyone is seeking to manage risk, and they are all guessing because if they knew for certain, they would not be dealing with risk.” (Adams, 1995)
The Fabricated Truth
Since Trump’s “fake news” has been named word of the year by Collins Dictionaries we have become more suspicious about any kind of news than ever before. It almost seems necessary to adopt the alertness of a journalist when still sleepy scanning through our Tweets at breakfast.
Interestingly enough, Oxford Dictionaries selected “post-truth” as word of the year in late 2016. Post-truth relates to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts. Does that suggest we fabricate our own truth?
Science versus Human Nature
A recent study amongst 376 million Facebook users’ interactions with over 900 news outlets found that we tend to seek information that aligns with our views. These findings make you wonder is conducting science going against human nature?
Scientists are expected to think critically and analyse objectively. Yet, we humans seem vulnerable to accepting and acting on misinformation. For that reason, unravelling the fabricated truth requires unbiased methodologies supported by smart tools and technology.
No Room for Fabricated Clinical Outcomes
As with our social media accounts there is a rapidly growing amount of information to process in clinical research. You could argue whether it adds value viewing and verifying the reliability of each single data point. Dirty data and frauds have always existed but can eventually be marginalised by responsive people and processes. So, why not concentrate on risky areas and questionable data, rather than trying to find a needle in a haystack?
Parallel to collecting humongous piles of clinical information, fast-advancing science has caught up with us. It sparked the development of personalised medicine, requiring fast patient access to targeted therapies. We are running out of time and must accelerate our clinical performance.
Instead of leaning back waiting for the data to come in, we’d better take a proactive approach and start deploying electronic technologies to streamline data capture and expedite time to market.
It’s Time to Outsmart Our Good Old Spreadsheets
Even today data collection and analytics seem to be an ongoing struggle for a lot of companies in the life sciences technology arena. Many of us are still conducting clinical studies with spreadsheets, and are waiting until the data gets uploaded, massaged and cleaned, which can easily take one month. This way of working needs to change drastically to stay in the driver’s seat.
There are now systems that can do all of that for you. Electronic Data Capture (EDC) systems complemented with Risk-Based Monitoring (RBM) features connect the dots and make data available on demand, so clinical researchers can have a better command of the information and make timely decisions. These integrated services offer innovative solutions with great visualizations that give incredible insight into the data.
The Greatest Risk is Not Taking One
We humans, like all other animals, are instinctive risk managers. We have evolved in an uncertain world, and our success relative to the rest of the animal kingdom suggests that we have been fairly good at it.
The complex scientific challenges that are knocking at our doors today ask for more than just our personal, biased judgement. There is no way around taking the risk of implementing reliable tools and trusted technology that aggregate data. Deploying them will enable us to process and view clinical information in a friendlier way, make real time decisions and keep clinical risks under our control.