The growth in demands by regulatory bodies, payers and physicians around the globe for real-world effectiveness data has outpaced supply of information through conventional methods. Compounded by increased pressures to reduce study costs, pharma companies must seek innovative approaches to more effectively (cost and time) generate quality evidence data. Social network based observational research addresses this need.

Quintiles’ presentation at the recent Late Phase Drug Development World conference (May 2011) describes how social networks and online communities support retrospective and prospective observational research. It outlines the benefits in terms of patient identification, cost and time, relative to traditional study approaches. Several case studies are included.