Innovation in 2022 and beyond – transcript

Ideas to Innovation


Zaid: The drive and momentum of innovation we’ve seen during this pandemic, whether in vaccines or enabling technologies, we have to carry that momentum into the next big thing. That could be climate change or the next pandemic or various challenges that exist.

Lin: Another highlight of this year’s report, I’m thinking which will be very hot topic for 2022 and beyond is the climate change and environment pollution-related topics.

Aaron: I think we’re no longer in a position that we can perhaps rely on one data source to make decisions. Looking at new sources of data, alternative sources of data, I think these are very real considerations that maybe academia and business, and even government can probably take into consideration.


Voice Over: The Ideas to Innovation podcast from Clarivate.

Joan Walker: Hello, I’m Joan Walker, and welcome to the Ideas to Innovation podcast. In this series, we’ll be talking to the people who live and breathe the process of turning ideas into innovation, the technologies that we depend on, the medicines that we rely on, the electricity that powers our day-to-day life. They were all once ideas before becoming inventions, inventions that have changed our lives for the better. Join the conversation with experts and industry leaders to discuss innovation at its core.

Almost two years into a global pandemic, uncertainty and volatility abound. Complex challenges remain ahead, but there is no doubt that human ingenuity in the pace of innovation continue to surprise and overcome seemingly insurmountable problems. Innovation at speed continues unabated. Collaboration across borders remains strong thanks to technological advancements in connectivity and mobile communications. Social interaction is evolving as the physical and virtual world collide with the rise of the metaverse. Expertise at a distance, including remote medicine, is becoming more pervasive. Sustainability sits at the core of the agenda for businesses, government, and society.

As the world continues its tentative recovery, what does 2022 and beyond hold for us? Joining us today to talk about the trends for 2022 and the future, trends that will impact the way the world creates, protects, and advance innovation are Zaid Al-Nassir, Principal Analyst for Medical Technology. Hello, Zaid.

Zaid Al-Nassir: Hi, Joan.

Joan: Good to have you.

Zaid: Good to be here.

Joan: Lin Wang, portfolio marketing manager. Hi, Lin.

Lin Wang: Hi, Joan.

Joan: Aaron Hill, principal consultant, all from Clarivate. Hi, Aaron.

Aaron Hill: Hi, Joan.

Joan: Is everybody well?

Aaron: Doing all good.

Joan: Excellent. Lin are you well?

Lin: Yes, good. Thank you.

Joan: Lovely, and Zaid?

Zaid: Doing great. Thank you.

Joan: Excellent and well, it’s very, very good to have you here today, and it’s going to be an interesting topic I think because as we rollerskate into the end of 2021, things are still topsy-turvy, aren’t they? For all of us. Our speakers today truly span the globe and between them cover truly diverse subject areas. Now, I’d like to hear where in the world you are today and a little bit about your background. Lin, can we start with you, tell us where you are and a little bit about what led you to this point?

Lin: Sure. Thank you, Joan. I’m responsible for portfolio marketing in Asia Pacific. Personally, I’m a chemist before and I received my PhD from the University of Michigan, then R&D scientist for five years before I joined Clarivate in 2015. I really enjoy my work here in Clarivate to collaborate with universities and governments in Asia Pacific to help them better measure, target, and expand the capability of their research.

Joan: Thank you, Lin. It sounds like a huge portfolio of stuff for you to juggle there.

Lin: Yes, it is.


Joan: Well done. Zaid, can we move to you. Tell us where you are and what led you to this point?

Zaid: Absolutely. I’m based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been working on the Medtech team for over five years now, focusing on market research reports and Medtech thought leadership. Over the past couple of years, we’ve had to really adjust our product line, our reports, our forecasting, our modeling, in order to reflect the impact of the pandemic. We’ve been tracking events very closely and trying to produce content that speaks to the various challenges that exist. I had started working in this from an editing perspective I studied political science and writing in university, and so I started editing market research reports and slowly took up the med-tech market knowledge.

Joan: Excellent. Excellent. Thank you for that, Zaid. Aaron, over to you, tell us where you are and how you got there.

Aaron: Yes, thanks, Joan. I am based in London as a consultant within our pattern services team. My background is slightly different I guess. I originally started out in the law and specifically, looking at things like AI, data, and ethics. I’ve been working in the IP intelligence space for about five years now. Usually, what I do on behalf of our clients is it’s trying to understand different technology areas through the lens of things like pattern data.

Joan: Right, that, again, must be hugely interesting and massively changing at a rate of knots I would imagine.

Aaron: Yes, it’s very quick, very fast-paced. [chuckles]

Joan: Yes, I can imagine. Well, welcome all of you. Very, very good to have you with me today. Almost two years ago, we were on the precipice of a global pandemic. Two years on, what do you think the world and you as an individual can take away as a valuable lesson? Let’s come to you Zaid first if we may.

Zaid: Absolutely. I think what’s a really valuable lesson is that just because things haven’t happened in a while doesn’t mean that they won’t happen. We have to be better prepared for eventualities that have far-reaching global impacts, despite how difficult that may be. The drive and momentum of innovation we’ve seen during this pandemic, whether in vaccines or enabling technologies, we have to carry that momentum into the next big thing. Not that this pandemic is by any means over, but the next big thing has to have all the aspects of innovation that we worked for, for this pandemic. That could be climate change or the next pandemic, or a resistant infection bacteria, various challenges that exist that require the brightest minds of industry and government and science to work together.

Joan: Absolutely. Do you think in terms of the development of all the medicines and the vaccines and the ongoing development, that we’ve been caught napping?

Zaid: I think it is commendable the progress that we’ve made. There may have been a few hiccups along the way, but nonetheless. If we do compare to the previous pandemic maybe like the Spanish flu would be a good comparison, it really is amazing how much faster we’ve been able to adapt and produce drugs that have helped us change the therapeutic landscape, change the impact of the disease on a global scale.

Joan: Absolutely, and as we said earlier on in our introductory chat, the global collaboration has been phenomenal in producing at speed the vaccines, would you agree?

Zaid: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Joan: I think my question there, Zaid, is why can’t we do that all the time? Why does it take something as momentous as this in order to make us as a population work together?

Zaid: Well, there’s a few factors that go into it and it’s the intersection of the technology being available versus the impact itself of the pandemic, how widespread it is. Enabling more thorough and faster research of the impact of the virus. There are a few factors that have to come together to make that sort of thing happen, but it’s really driven by the science, ultimately. Once we know that a technology is safe, there are efforts that we can take in collaboration with governments to inform how to accelerate regulatory process if it’s deemed essential, if there’s a situation as severe as we had that renders it logical to accelerate some aspects of drug development.

Joan: Absolutely. Lin, two years on, what do you think the world and you can take away as a valuable lesson?

Lin: Thank you, Joan, for the question. I was born in 1980s and I think this is for the first time in my life that I feel [unintelligible 00:09:59] That is of the environment of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, but it is also for the first time in my life that I closely feel the importance of science and technology. In the pandemic, we’ve seen that millions of scientists are doing research to fight the COVID. Not only virologists or biologists but also environmentalists, chemists, engineers, and others. They’re fighting an invisible enemy that our humankind is facing, which requires domain expertise and unprecedented collaboration and interdisciplinary knowledge. I think one of the valuable lessons I learned is to respect nature and to respect science and scientists.

Joan: Again, just picking up from what Zaid said, the collaboration has allowed us to really move its speed, hasn’t it?

Lin: Right. Because sometimes, the solution you made requires a lot of knowledge from different disciplines and different research teams.

Joan: Absolutely. Thank you for that Lin. Moving on to you, Aaron, same question, valuable lessons, what do you think?

Aaron: Yes. When you said two years, that took me back a little bit because it really is a long time.

Joan: It is a long time, but don’t you think in some ways it’s flown?

Aaron: It has gone very quick and very slow in other ways. I think on the whole as humans, we’re generally not that good at thinking about abstract threats that we can’t see or invisible things. I think it’s definitely taught us to maybe expect the unexpected and it’s given a precedent to the unprecedented if that makes sense, and we’re certainly a lot more agile in the way that we work and the way that we see organizations working together as well. To Zaid’s point as well, not losing out on the progress we’ve made in terms of innovating faster and some of the infrastructure that we put in place to do that. I think it’s really important that remains in place.

Joan: Absolutely. No, you are absolutely right. You’re right, it’s that sort of you can’t see around the corner, can you? That level of preparedness, you think my goodness, how do we keep that going? It really is like prepared for anything, isn’t it?

Aaron: Yes. It’s a culture of trying to plan in a climate when you can’t make plans.

Joan: Yes. I’m going to come back to that. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and your personal reflections set the scene nicely for the rest of our conversation today. The last two years have not been easy but out of crisis, as we’ve discussed, humanity’s capacity to rise up and solve complex problems is nothing short of inspiring. Let’s look at how this has surfaced in your respective fields and what does it mean for 2022 and beyond. Zaid, if we can, let’s kick it off with you.

Zaid: It’s almost different to pinpoint where to start which is a good thing really. Like we said, not only have we developed vaccines based on several technologies for various age groups, we’ve also developed a huge array of testing therapeutics and we are just now seeing the impact of pediatric vaccines start to roll out, and all of this happened in like we said, under the span of two years, and we’ve also seen incredible innovation in less visible but nonetheless significant avenues.

For instance, we’ve seen multiple medical device technology companies develop features or improvements of products that enable patients to receive healthcare remotely more easily primarily by making patient data shareable with providers either through digital platforms, some cloud service, Bluetooth, smartphone connectivity, all of that has enabled continued healthcare provision in a safer manner.

We’ve also seen uniquely innovation in the way healthcare is actually provided and not necessarily in the production of new tools, but rather the use of existing tools to enable safer operations using things like portable ultrasound systems so that COVID patients don’t have to move around the hospital, using smart pumps to administer drugs from a distance so that physicians don’t have to go into every COVID room. All of this, even robotics is being used much more intensely and effectively, and this is allowing more and more of healthcare procedures to be performed outside of hospitals which brings costs down and reduces pressures on hospitals which is particularly useful in a pandemic.

I think going forward, we expect to see a lot more of these data-driven, remote-capable, intelligent devices and services in 2022 and beyond. As manufacturers become increasingly familiar with all the challenges that healthcare settings face and I think honestly, the effective use of mRNA technology alone has ramifications that are potentially world-changing, and just that by itself, it says a lot about the various aspects of innovation that we’ve seen over the past two years.

Joan: It’s interesting. Obviously, the adaptability but what you are hitting on there as well is the mobility, so really having extraordinary pieces of kit that we can move about?

Zaid: Absolutely yes, and that’s really a credit to the healthcare providers and the regulators who have been able to look at what folks have been doing to see what works and to issue guidelines and recommendations that can be replicated elsewhere.

Those lessons were really what lowered the mortality rate of COVID whereas in the initial part of the pandemic, we were seeing a lot of deaths with the many cases but that was the ratio there was slowly brought down and it’s solely because of these innovations in healthcare provisions.

Joan: Yes. Amazing. Amazing. Aaron, if I could move on to you and ask the same question, so in your field, what does it look like for 2022 and beyond?

Aaron: Yes. There’s been a few trends that we’ve seen really take off over the last year and I cluster them into two themes if you like and some of those we’ve already discussed but the first is those technologies that directly relate to the pandemic or I call them pandemic adjacent technologies as well. What we’ve seen is an increase in mRNA and general vaccine technologies, but an interesting observation as well is that this has touched upon multiple sectors. Whereas before we might have seen an interest in this technology be limited to just a few specialized players or just annexed to the pharmaceutical industry, we’re now seeing a much bigger footprint of companies that are maybe considering these technologies because of their relevance and their importance to the pandemic.

The second theme and again, I see this as related, it is the idea of connectivity. Mobile communications, 5G networks, this is something again that spans sectors and it was already a hot topic before but now it seems to be really expedited by the pandemic as well. If you think about it, it really underpins a lot of technology. When we think about creating an Internet of Things or tomorrow’s smart hospital, for example, these type of technologies really will be essential to their deployment. They just don’t work if they don’t have that level of tech activity there.

Then the final area I suppose would be generally around sustainability. We could probably spend the whole time talking about that alone and there are some very interesting ways that it relates to the pandemic as well but it’s one of those pervasive technologies. We saw topics like energy extraction, a focus on storage production, hydrogen, fuel cells, but also from the renewable sector as well we saw increased interest in things like wind and solar and wireless charging as well. As much as I look at these areas independently, so pandemic, connectivity, sustainability, really, in some ways, they are sides of the same coin.

Joan: Yes. Thank you for that Aaron, very, very interesting, and Lin, over to you.

Lin: Thank you, Joan. I think I would like to mention something related to fundamental research, and we have been tracking the trend of fundamental research, what’s happening in fundamental research. For example, we recently launched a report named Research Fronts. Clarivate has been working with the Chinese Academy of Sciences for eight consecutive years to release this annual report to identify hot and emerging research specialties.

In this year’s report, we’ve seen rapid and pervasive impact of COVID 19 on global research. The recent Research Fronts report documents the worldwide surge of research on Coronavirus and its clinical course. As I mentioned previously, the research coverage goes beyond biological and medical subfields. For example, in social sciences, investigation has been focused on mental health repercussions of the pandemic. Even ecological factors have drawn attention such as in the study of how air pollution has affected the severity of outbreaks in COVID-hotspots.

Another highlight of this year’s report I’m thinking which will be very hot topic for 2022 and beyond, is climate change and environmental pollution-related topics. They have become hot research areas. The study of the world’s environmental challenges is an interdisciplinary research as well which requires knowledge of environmental science, biological science and even applying knowledge in information science. This further analyzed the trend of interdisciplinary research.

Joan: Lin, thank you. Thank you all of you for your input there. That is such a lot to ponder and to be optimistic about. Now, the pandemic clearly continues to be a common and dominant thread across life sciences, IP, and scientific research. Zaid, I’d like to circle back to you. The innovation that we’ve witnessed in life sciences and healthcare is nothing short of breathtaking as we discussed earlier. We know that, for example, the process of vaccine development, testing, and regulation can typically take well over a decade. I know we did touch on this. What made it possible for companies to accelerate product development to time to market?

Zaid: That’s a really important question. I would say that it isn’t really accelerating the product development itself. The technologies that underpin the vaccines that we’re using today, those have been under development for quite some time. Experimentally mostly and targeting diseases like rabies, looking at potential treatments for HIV, and that whole time over decades, it was getting faster and easier to produce. The time it takes to manufacture those materials in large quantities also improved drastically over that time, as well as computing power which allows for more targeted and accurate, and efficient approaches to replication, to production.

What really helped this time was the intersection of regulatory innovation and scientific innovation as well as really the sheer far-reaching impact of COVID 19. Given how many cases we were seeing, this meant it was a lot quicker to actually set up clinical trials because there were many individuals who had COVID that could be studied and then you could form a trial and you could conduct the study in far less time than you would be able to for a disease where that isn’t so available, and so that was a big factor.

The other factor is that it was a global emergency and so the regulators were able to cut down on wait times that applied to standard applications without jeopardizing safety testing because we already knew that mRNA and adenovirus technologies were safe. What bolstered that even further is that people participated, they volunteered for clinical trials at a pace that has never been seen before. That also enabled quicker turnarounds. In a sentence, it was really the intersection of regulatory innovation, scientific innovation, sheer human willpower really but also the significant impact of the COVID pandemic itself.

Joan: So it was a perfect storm really. As you say research had been going on for longer than the average Joe on the street like me would know.

Zaid: It was and it really makes you think about whether the progress that we’ve made would’ve been possible under any other circumstances. It really was the perfect convergence to be able to produce these technologies and then get them into people as soon as possible.

Joan: Yes, absolutely. I know, Aaron, you’d like to add something here.

Aaron: Yes. I think it is, I suppose, very related to this but it’s more so from the era of digital technologies. One of the things that we see going on when it comes to businesses and innovation in terms of their product development, we’re seeing a lot more of technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and this whole bigger conversation that’s going on around the metaverse. Now, that seems very farfetched sometimes but there’s a bit of a misconception that maybe this area of innovation is just confined to gaming and it’s this thing for hobbyists. Really it is an incubator for other applications of virtual reality.

We think of gaming as playing a really important role in maybe pushing the boundaries of computing and connectivity even within the pandemic. One of the areas we’re seeing is a push in terms of remote medicine. For example, we could see these ideas of virtual reality and the metaverse be extended to telemedicine and to humans that might be operating equipment remotely as well.

Joan: If you were trying to explain that to a patient who has come in and said, “I’ve got a sore throat. I’d like you to have a look to see if I’ve got swollen tonsils,” how might that look?

Aaron: Yes, I think we’re in the stage at the moment where we’re still sketching what that would look like. That’s what a lot of the activity in terms of innovation has been focused on. This is also an overarching trend as well to ways that we can provide solutions to problems remotely, especially in a healthcare context as well. Maybe one of the things we’ve seen is the use of pulse oximeter devices that may be monitored remotely and they integrate the use of AI, and similarly, with these immersive technologies, the ability to have some interaction with a healthcare provider that’s provided via some virtual experience could be something that we see in the future.

Joan: Thank you for that, Aaron. Let’s just take a little pause and a step back here. I think it’s really important for us to talk about how real-world data and real-time insights are not just providing us with the direction of trends to come but also enable industry to respond fast, pivot, and innovate. Aaron, thoughts on that?

Aaron: Yes. Definitely, in my day-to-day world, we talk a lot about this idea of actionable intelligence, and what it really means is that we want to enable people to be proactive rather than just reactive to what’s going on. I think especially in the pandemic, one thing that it’s highlighted is the need for informed decisions. There’s a role that data has to play there in improving the level of confidence in those decisions and how we go about executing different visions. This follow the science slogan, if you like it, it’s not just a governmental policy but it’s a philosophy of being able to put innovation first and perhaps using data to do that.

Joan: Excellent. Thank you for that. Zaid, what might you add here?

Zaid: I completely agree with Aaron and I think we saw a few examples over the past couple of years of how real-world data and insights can inform better decisions was particularly in the field of COVID testing and diagnostics. We saw real-world data being incorporated into regulatory applications at a rising rate and that allowed regulators to use that data to essentially test emergency use authorizations which are, they grant those for cases of compassionate use where there’s a public health emergency. That allowed them to look at some of these products that received these authorizations and say, “Well, how is this actually playing out? Is it getting the outcomes we need?” It also allows them to target specific patients for which some tests may work better than others or for settings where some tests work better than others.

There’s also the issue of resource allocation measures. Real-world data can also be used to look at where there is a need for a certain product, especially at a time of, there are supply chain issues or if there are shortages. That enables stakeholders to be able to divert their resources based on where there is a local need. I think those two examples on their own were directly related to measures that ultimately saved many, many lives. I think we’re only going to see more of that going forward. There might be a few hiccups along the road but it is a new thing. The more we can take from real-world settings and real-world data insights into clinical decision making, into regulatory decision making, the better the outcomes would be the lower the costs will be and it benefits everyone really.

Joan: Absolutely. Thank you for that, Zaid. Now, picking up on another fascinating point that Lin raised is the trend of interdisciplinary research and the need for both deeper expertise and greater collaboration. Now, Zaid, is this something that you are seeing in life sciences and healthcare, and Aaron, in corporate research and development too? Let’s start with you, Zaid.

Zaid: Absolutely. It’s not a coincidence that one of the most successful vaccines out there is a collaboration between a pharmaceutical company and a molecular research company between Pfizer and Biotech. What we’re seeing today is the outcome of intense scientific and research collaboration from some of the greatest minds around it, the people who’ve been working on these technologies for decades. I think the progress made so far would also not be possible without the extensive cooperation between whether pharmaceuticals or med-tech companies and government agencies.

Research funding, that played a huge role in getting these therapeutics and drugs, and vaccines to market at a faster rate than usually possible. For an example, we’ve seen some developing products like insulin pumps that are compatible with glucose monitors from other companies. We’ve seen companies take a strategy where they can produce devices specifically for a certain sector, but they continue to allow their devices to be interoperable with other related devices.

Similar trends are seen in imaging and electronic health records, which continue to grow. I think the more collaboration interoperability can be provided, the less sacrifice patients have to make between what they actually want and whether it works with what they have. The more we do that, the easier it will be to drive uptakes of technologies in general which again, benefits the entire healthcare ecosystem.

Joan: Absolutely. Absolutely. Aaron, over to you in the corporate research and development world.

Aaron: I think the Pfizer, Biotech collaboration is probably the best example. Just to expand on that, really the best solutions that we see, and this is historically as well, the best solutions that we see often come from a multidisciplinary effort towards a particular product or solution that’s on the market. That really requires collaboration at different levels, like globally, within different disciplines and industries. We can even see that and somewhere like the field of connectivity.

If you think about connectivity, almost every industry can benefit from being more connected and need to incorporate some aspect of 5G within their products. That’s a very real concern. If you think about smart medical devices, for example, that just simply doesn’t operate without a fundamental understanding of connectivity and being able to collaborate with other players that are within that domain as well.

Joan: Absolutely. Thank you for that, Aaron. Now, Lin, the Research Front report is truly fascinating. I understand that Clarivate has worked with the Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2014 to deliver this annual report. Now, can you tell us why Research Fronts in the words of the report, and I quote, “Afford a unique vantage point from which to watch science unfold?”

Lin: Yes. I think we all agree that the world of scientific research presents a sprawling ever-changing landscape. Therefore, the ability to identify where the action is, and in particular, to track emerging specialty areas, provides a distinct advantage for administrators, policymakers, and others who need to monitor, support, and advance the conduct of research in the face of finite resources.

The Research Fronts data just review the links among researchers working on related threads of scientific inquiry even if the researchers’ backgrounds may not suggest that they belong to the same invisible collage. We’ve collaborated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences for years to track those research fronts, the specialty areas. We’ve observed that the data just to provide us an ongoing chronicle of how these great fields of activity emerge, coalesce, grow, or possibly shrink and dissipate and branch off from one another as they self-organize into ever newer nodes of activity.

Joan: Thank you for that, Lin. Now, could you give us a brief snapshot of the methodology for this report?

Lin: Sure. The Research Fronts are defined when the scientists undertake the fundamental scholarly act of citing one another’s work, collecting a specific commonality in their research. Sometimes it’s the experimental data and sometimes a method or perhaps a concept or hypothesis. One group of highly cited papers are frequently cited together, research fronts can be discovered, and here, highly cited papers refer to the publications whose citation ranked them as a top 1% in the same field of research and same publication year.

Another important feature of this annual report is that domain experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences select, name, and interpret those hot and emerging research fronts. It is really a perfect combination of data and experts’ opinions.

Joan: Thank you for that, Lin. Thank you. Now, I have to say, I was not surprised that global ecological and environmental challenges feature in the top 10 hot research fronts in ecology and environmental sciences. Now, Aaron, you mentioned earlier as well that sustainability is an area that organizations are dedicating significant resources to in research and development. How do you think academia and business can work collaboratively to make true progress towards answering some of our biggest environmental challenges?

Aaron: It’s a very good question. I think we’re aware now more than ever that technology is going to be very important to solve a lot of these social-environmental problems. If there’s one takeaway that we have from COP26, is that these problems can’t be solved in isolation. This really, again, goes to this point of collaboration that requires engagement from all levels of government and the private and the public sector.

I think a key thing for business and academia is being open to a dialogue, which probably sounds very, very generic, but it is the possibility to be open to that conversation in the first place. We already have in the Sustainable Development Goals, we already have very clear links between government and academia. Goal nine focuses, for example, on industrialization and innovation, but there are other ways that can also touch upon this idea of sustainability.

Having a more diverse and inclusive product development process is part of the sustainability agenda. Thinking about digital technologies is also part of the sustainable development sector. In some ways, it’s thinking about sustainability as more than just the typical green innovations that we think about. Although that’s fundamentally important, it’s not the only way to do sustainability. There’s a role here for business and academia to come together.

Joan: I like the phrase that you just used, do sustainability, because it does make it sound like it’s a very active thing, it’s not a passive thing to do sustainability.

Aaron: Absolutely. Especially because you don’t want it just to be seen to be done, you want it to be done as well. You want it to be substantially done.

Joan: Exactly, it’s not just lip service, is it? Now, when it comes to academia and corporate partnership, they’re more commonplace in life sciences and healthcare. We need look no further than the Oxford and AstraZeneca partnership for their COVID-19 vaccine and beLAB2122 that aims to accelerate drug discovery by bringing together several German academic institutions in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb.

Now, I’d like to dive a bit deeper into the developments within life sciences and healthcare. Zaid, you talked about healthcare decentralization. Can you tell us a bit more about this and what it means for healthcare professionals and patient care in 2022 and beyond?

Zaid: What it means is healthcare will likely be more accessible, more affordable going forward and this is already happening. It’s been happening for a few years and the reasons for this are improving reimbursement, improving payer coverage technological innovations like robotics, and patient demand for more accessible and flexible healthcare settings. That has rendered ASCs Ambulatory Surgical Centers and outpatient settings as a much more significant healthcare setting that with all of these technologies at hand, you don’t have to perform all procedures in an inpatient hospital setting.

What this has allowed us to do is to reduce pressure on hospital settings, but also to improve outcomes, to improve the quality of healthcare. Because these outpatient settings and ASCs are associated with higher efficiency such as lower readmission rates, lower revision rates, at lower healthcare-related infections, they cost less and ultimately cost the healthcare system less. That’s really in line with the trend of value-based care that we’re seeing spread globally which in a nutshell is to optimize quality and minimize cost where possible and to adopt innovative technologies that can reduce the cost of healthcare in the long run.

We’re seeing patients receive healthcare at many more points of care than historical trends have shown. Before you would just go to a hospital, whereas now you can go do a biopsy or endoscopic procedure at a related facility where scheduling is easy, the physicians control their own schedules, the technologies available are state of the art. During the pandemic, in particular, this was very useful because it did allow us to reduce pressures on hospitals that are caring for COVID patients and allowed us to continue providing healthcare when there were lots of delays and lots of deferrals, and lots of closures for public health settings.

Joan: It’s a win, win, win. It’s a triple-win situation, isn’t it?

Zaid: It is really, and even taking into account a recent reversal in the US about reimbursement coverage for ASCs, the trend over the past decades has continued to trend positively. The reimbursement continues to increase and then the data that comes out of those settings shows that they are safe, they’re effective, and that continues to improve reimbursement in the years that follow.

Joan: Thanks for that, Zaid. Now, given the increasing number of academia, corporate partnerships, and interdisciplinary research, what’s the impact on how and what data is being used to inform and support decision-making during the innovation life cycle? Over to you again, Zaid.

Zaid: Well, I think I’ve touched back on the initial point we made earlier and that’s to be prepared really. We have to be better prepared. I think Aaron touched on a really important point that humans aren’t good at dealing with abstract challenges. I think that’s absolutely accurate. We need to take into account the progress that we’ve made and look at it in a historical perspective.

The accomplishments that have happened the past two years are nothing short of amazing really, and increased collaboration, increased cooperation between the various stakeholders, keeping up the momentum and keeping the pressure on, on government agencies and on politicians to enable these faster timetables and to really keep all of this progress that we’ve made.

Joan: Yes. Absolutely. Lin, your thoughts on this.

Lin: From my personal experience, the web of science literature data really helped me to find new approaches of things assessing my major organic framework compounds when I was an R&D scientist in a chemical company. During my seven years in Clarivate, I’ve seen many customers use data to inform and support their research evaluation or the decision-making process. Our customers are calling for multidimensional data and metrics. For example, to evaluate the research performance, literature data, patent data, clinical trials data all can be used in the analysis as different forms of research output, and for metrics, citations from peers reflect the academic impact.

Nowadays we see research managers are also interested in other real-world impacts. In this way, for example, the citations from patents or from policy documents or other metrics indicators are all possible approaches. I think more importantly is the linkage of those data. With the linkage, it could provide a powerful evidence base to support the decision-making at multiple organizational levels.

Joan: Lin, thank you for that. Thanks very much, and Aaron, over to you.

Aaron: I would absolutely reiterate the same message. It’s really about an integrated approach to making decisions and the quality of the insights you’re getting in the first place. I think we’re no longer in a position that we can perhaps rely on one data source to make decisions, but we now have an armory of different content streams that we can look at. Looking at new sources of data, alternative sources of data, I think these are very real considerations that maybe academia and business, and even government can probably take into consideration.

When we look at a landscape for technology, we want to think about IP, funding, the legal and regulatory landscape. To really use the data that’s there and also leverage various initiatives that may be going on. Participating in industry and policy forums, making use of various systems within the IP world and sandboxes as well, I think these things will really help to keep up that pace.

Joan: It really is a richly integrated collaborative tapestry of skills, isn’t it?

Aaron: Yes, absolutely. It probably puts a lot more pressure I suppose, on individuals as well to be quite versatile in terms of the type of data sources that they’re integrating to make their decisions. You very quickly have to switch from one very different type of rich data to another in order to make those decisions.

Joan: Absolutely. Well, a fantastic, fascinating discussion today. Thank you, Zaid Al-Nassir.

Zaid: Thank you, Joan. Thank you, everyone.

Joan: Thank you, Lin Wang.

Lin: Thank you, Joan. Thank you, everyone.

Joan: Thank you, Aaron Hill.

Aaron: Thanks, Joan.

Joan: It’s been really interesting to hear your shared thoughts on the direction of innovation and scientific research in 2022 and beyond.


There’s often a silver lining, even in the darkest of times, human ingenuity and innovation will continue to overcome adversity and lead us to a better brighter tomorrow. Follow and listen to Ideas to Innovation for engaging, informative, and inspirational content with insights you can use. Now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast directories. Share, like, review, or join the conversation with your comments on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook by clicking on the share link. Thank you for joining us. Until next time, I’m Joan Walker. Goodbye.

Voice over: The Ideas to Innovation podcast from Clarivate.


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