The first question we should really be asking is ‘What is Real World data?’ Put simply, it is information collected, while developing a new medicine or technology that shows what value that medicine has to the end user.


This data is different from information that is gathered during clinical trials to determine the safety, efficacy and quality of the medicine. Real World data studies actually look at what happens in real clinical practice. They look at the impact of the new medicine on patients; the healthcare professionals, doctors and nurses who administer the medicine; and also how costs or efficiencies are affected by introducing the medicine or technology.

In practice, the new medicine could mean that patients now take a tablet instead of coming into hospital for a weekly intravenous (IV) infusion. A patient would obviously prefer taking a tablet, which takes seconds rather than coming into hospital for a few hours. This saves time for the patient or even a carer who may need to take them to hospital. 

As well as for the patient, time and resource are also saved for the hospital. A nurse doesn’t have to supervise the administration of the IV infusion and more patients can be seen in the clinic. Overall, this step change has time and cost savings for both the patient and clinical setting. More importantly, the patient feels better. Their new medicine works effectively and they don’t have to sit around for hours to get it.

This is why Real World data really matters. If we don’t gather this data, we won’t be in a position to demonstrate the value of new medicines. In turn the NHS will remain slow taking up new innovations and patients will continue to miss the opportunity of benefiting from a new medicine or technology that suits their needs.

That is why today, we are launching our vision for Real World data which describes how we can harness the opportunities we have in the UK to bring new innovative medicines to our patients.

More detail on what Real World data studies are, why these studies are important and some pointers on how the studies can be undertaken, can be found here.

Dr Allison Jeynes-Ellis
ABPI Medical and Innovation Director  

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