3 Ways Virtual Collaboration Is Transforming Life Sciences

From developing lifesaving treatments and therapies to building cutting-edge medical technology, pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies are changing the way people live and manage their health. 

The way these companies operate is changing, too — with globally distributed teams, robust regulatory environments, and the pressure to innovate at breakneck speed, seamless and secure video communication is quickly becoming essential to the life sciences industry.

Here are a few ways pharma-biotech and medical device companies are using Zoom for their critical communications, from research and development to manufacturing and sales.

Decentralization of clinical trials

Clinical trial participants may be familiar with the burden of traveling to the study center, sometimes many hours away, or even having to temporarily relocate in order to participate in a trial. With fully decentralized clinical trials, procedures are conducted virtually using remote monitoring and other digital tools to communicate with the patient, check their progress, and track their adherence to trial protocols.

When trial enrollment no longer revolves around the need to travel to a centralized site, researchers have the ability to recruit a more diverse pool of patients regardless of location. Patients gain greater access to the therapies they need without having to travel to a major research facility that may be hours away from the comfort of home. 

Clinical trials don’t need to be fully decentralized to realize the benefits of video collaboration. A hybrid approach, where more complex procedures are conducted at the trial site or a local clinic, and regular check-ins and monitoring can be done virtually, can still save time and resources while improving patient communications and outcomes.

Virtual access to manufacturing facilities

It used to be common for a breakdown on the manufacturing floor to result in significant production delays, as workers were stuck waiting for a technician to come on site to fix the issue. Virtual collaboration has changed that, enabling quick and effective access to overseas manufacturing sites for equipment malfunctions or maintenance. 

When you can bring in a remote equipment expert to virtually troubleshoot an issue, it can vastly cut down on the cost and time spent waiting for that technician to travel to the manufacturing floor. Using wearable, hands-free cameras and other devices, on-site employees can safely work with technicians located offsite to diagnose and address malfunctioning equipment.

With pandemic travel restrictions contributing to a backlog of facility inspections, pharma-biotech companies are conducting virtual inspections with regulatory agencies. And even if the inspection itself isn’t conducted over Zoom, global staff can still collaborate virtually to prepare for inspections happening overseas.

More meaningful sales interactions

The days of sales reps dropping into doctors’ offices for a few minutes of face time with the provider may be numbered. The pandemic ushered in a new era of virtual sales, as Bryce Davis, senior director of commercial strategy for Veeva Engage at Veeva Systems, noted during a Zoomtopia 2021 panel on using Zoom for pharma and biotech organizations.

According to Davis, video sales calls can sometimes be even more effective than the drop-in approach. “We have some studies that suggest that a virtual meeting through Zoom is almost two times as valuable as an in-person meeting. … It’s a scheduled meeting, you have the doctor’s undivided attention, you’re using your content and having a conversation that the doctors value because they’re giving you that scheduled time. It makes for a much more efficient, cost-effective, and valuable interaction between the reps and their doctors,” he said.

The increasing role of video technology in life sciences

Virtual collaboration is becoming engrained in every part of the drug development process, from research through commercialization. For more on the role of video technology in pharma and biotech organizations, watch the Zoomtopia 2021 session, “Accelerating Scientific Innovation Through Operational Efficiency: Zoom for Biotech and Pharma.”

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