On 9 November 2017, at the Cemil Bilsel Hall of the Faculty of Science of Istanbul University, International Clinical Trial Center Network (ICN), health authorities, industry representatives, lawyers and patient rights advocates gathered and discussed how to use the available data in Turkey more efficiently during the symposium “Clinical Research and Data: Beyond Technology, Speed and Innovation”.

Information and data management have come into spotlight in the field of clinical research. Carrying out clinical trials in a cyber ecosystem is no longer a fictive statement. While well-known challenges remain (regulation on personal data protection, ethical reservations, putative changes in scientific data generation…), the development of big data and artificial intelligence, together with biotechnology, will mark a new era in the use of real life data and data management in clinical trials.

During this meeting, the ICN Members Zurich, Cambridge and Rome have provided insight on what can be done on a central level by sharing their own examples, such as applicable databases, hospital electronic patient records, data migration methods, usage of big data, legal and ethical barriers, country clinical research, health system and patient databases and data management systems utilized at the sites.
This sharing of experiences will empower Turkish sites, governmental and health agencies and industry to initiate and maintain such technological systems in Turkey. Protocol designs need to be smarter and more cost effective. Additionally, the exchange of experiences will allow to take advantages to diagnose and prevent diseases proactively. Apart from data of randomized trials, there is significant amount of Real-World data in Turkey, which needs to be integrated more efficiently.

This baseline meeting identified data sources and integration methods, analyzed the requirements of the country and the patients and discussed and considered the underlying ethical and legal aspects. All attendees have noted that these areas need to be improved. By using big data more effectively and systematically, a shortening in the regulatory timelines and a decrease in research cost could be implemented and are not a dream!