Quintiles, Allscripts to tap health IT data for drug research

Quintiles and Allscripts plan to work as one to develop software that improves drug development and research of products on the market. The partnership deepens ties between the world's largest CRO, Quintiles, and Allscripts, one of the country's foremost providers of electronic health records.

Research Triangle Park, NC-based Quintiles has a track record for embracing new technology to address bugaboos in pharma research. With help from Allscripts, the major CRO aims to gather digital patient data without flouting privacy rules to tackle a variety challenges in biopharma, including recruitment for clinical trials, study monitoring, and delving into various post-market research such as the safety of new drugs.

Drug developers and their software vendors have talked for years about the use EHRs in clinical trials. The record systems are already in place in many major hospitals and hold the type of patient data that could be used to develop new treatments. Electronic health records haven't found much use yet in clinical trials, but Quintiles and Allscripts seem keen on harnessing data from the systems for drug research and outcomes studies. Quintiles beefed up its post-market surveillance tech and capabilities with its buyout of Outcome Sciences in 2011.

"We believe this relationship will result in bringing new drugs and discoveries to market faster to improve patient care--known as post-market surveillance--which will become an increasingly common requirement in our view," Steven Schwartz, senior vice president of corporate business development at Allscripts, said in a statement. "Most importantly, this is another groundbreaking step in using the new kinds of clinical information we are gathering from electronic health records to improve patient health outcomes."

Quintiles is among several groups that have taken action to capture data from EHRs to advance drug research. For instance, the National Institutes of Health has funded work to integrate EHRs and clinical trials data. And Nextrials, a clinical trials software provider, has designed its products to operate in harmony with health records.  

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