HUTCHMED: 4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Patient Data

Companies launching specialized therapies for smaller, highly targeted patient populations need to answer complex business questions, understand market dynamics, and piece together the full patient journey.

Yet, disconnected data sets and access limitations cause these companies to struggle to fill data gaps and answer questions to understand rare disease patients’ path to diagnosis — and help to speed critical treatment.

To overcome these issues and prepare for launch, emerging pharma and biotech companies are turning to more comprehensive, accurate, and actionable patient data to extract insights quickly and inform high-impact commercial initiatives.

One example is HUTCHMED, a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company developing targeted therapies and immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and immunological diseases. Ushank Agarwal, vice president, head of commercial analytics and operations at HUTCHMED, recently shared his perspective on the topic at Veeva Commercial Summit and in a Veeva webinar on data considerations for rare disease launches.

Here are four takeaways from our discussions to help you get the most out of patient data.

1. Keep the patient at the center of any data endeavor.

To Agarwal, patient centricity equals empathy. While analyzing patient data, Agarwal and his team strive to understand the full patient story — the “why” behind the analyses —because understanding the patient experience is just as important as understanding the indication.

“When we understand and empathize with the patient, there is intrinsic motivation behind our goal to reach the right patients and the physicians treating them,” Agarwal says.

2. Use data sets that provide the complete picture.

Rare diseases have smaller patient populations and, therefore, smaller (and often incomplete) data sets.

Agarwal says, “When looking at claims data, for example, there are situations where the diagnosis code is not correctly captured — or may not even exist yet — or the patient longitudinal history is not correct. To have a sense of completeness, we need to plug in other data sources or look for data sets that will provide a complete picture.”

The ideal data sets provide comprehensive medical claims and prescription claims that overlap, including data that track patients completely over time.

“Complete data is what really matters in rare disease,” Agarwal says. “Having that complete history goes a long way in terms of understanding the disease state.”

3. Generate insights with speed and accuracy with on-demand access to up-to-date data.

The data ecosystem has changed a lot over the past two decades. Agarwal says he still remembers “those days when we got our data on CD tapes. It was only physician-level data at that time, and there was such a data lag.”

While data approaches have come a long way since then, they are still too slow and too sparse for the pace and needs of rare disease.

Today, organizations like HUTCHMED have access to much more recent, detailed, and richer data. HUTCHMED’s team accesses the latest data whenever a need or question arises.

“This allows us to produce insights and deliver solutions like next best action and reaching the right physician for the right patient at the right time,” Agarwal says. “Data is generated when there is an encounter between a patient and a physician. Our goal is to take action on that data as soon as possible. For rare disease companies like ours, monthly data deliveries come too late for us to plan interventions.”

4. Help your commercial team succeed by connecting the right data to the right system.

The questions both large enterprise and emerging biotech need to answer with data are mostly the same. However, emerging organizations often make extra effort to ensure efficient use of resources.

Agarwal says, “In a smaller startup, you’ll probably end up getting just one data source, so it’s important to get it right. We need access to the right ecosystem and data set while minimizing the internal resources needed to produce insights.”

The HUTCHMED team relies on Veeva Compass patient data for product launch. From a pre-launch standpoint, monitoring the patient journey allows for a deeper understanding of interventions, paths to diagnosis, and the best timing to engage with healthcare professionals (HCPs) and salesforce sizing. Post-launch, Compass helps with segmentation and targeting.

“Veeva Compass provides us with a purpose-built digital foundation and common data architecture,” Agarwal says. “It gives us complete patient data to generate insights that need to be acted upon by everyone who works with our customers — our field force, our national accounts teams, and our medical science liaisons (MSLs). An ecosystem where you can easily put insights into action and measure those outcomes closes the loop for us. Everything is a one-stop shop.”

To learn more about HUTCHMED and how they are using patient data, check out Agarwal featured in this Pharmaceutical Commerce editorial podcast.

Interested in learning more about how Veeva can help?