Data silos are when data in an organization is kept by one department and not shared with the rest of the organization. Data silos are a risk at any large organization, such as large businesses, but they have become a particular challenge for the pharmaceutical industry. Research and development of new drugs depends on knowledge and data being widely shared, which is something that data silos prevent from happening.
As a result, if you are considering a career in pharmacovigilance, learning about data silos and how to overcome them is beneficial. Drug safety can be greatly improved through greater sharing of data. Here are three things about data silos you should know if you’re thinking about pursuing pharmacovigilance studies.
1. Many Data Silos Are a Result of Poor Organizational Structure
While there are instances when a department will deliberately withhold data from other departments, these are rare. More commonly, data silos are a result of poor organizational structure. One department may simply be unaware that another department could have use for their data, for instance, and thus fail to share it. As the pharmaceutical industry relies increasingly on outside contractors, the risk for these types of data silos to develop is rising.
In other instances, departments may simply lack a way to share data throughout the organization. Different departments may use different software or different testing methodologies that are incompatible with other departments’ methodologies. The entire organization may also lack a way for the data that it produces to be stored in a single location, such as a cloud, that is accessible to all departments.
2. Data Silos Waste Time and Resources When Developing New Drugs
Drug companies spend billions of dollars over many years developing new drugs with no guarantee that a new drug will ever actually get to market. As a result, companies can benefit from eliminating costly redundancies in the development process. In fact, drug companies often look to professionals with pharmacovigilance training to help them reduce the time it takes to get a drug from development to market approval.
Data silos are a big source of redundancies, which is why pharmacovigilance students should take them seriously. When data is not shared between different departments, there is a significant risk that departments will end up carrying out research and tests that have already been performed by other departments. This situation creates redundant data and drives up the cost and time of the entire research and development process.
3. Pros with Pharmacovigilance Training Know Data Silos Can Create Drug Safety Issues
If you are studying a pharmacovigilance program, then drug safety is a top priority. Pharmacovigilance professionals need to ensure the safety of clinical study participants and analyze new drugs for possible adverse effects. Data silos, however, are a major impediment to improving drug safety.
If data is not shared between departments, it creates a barrier for designing safe clinical studies. For instance, one department may already have data indicating a possible adverse reaction caused by a new drug, but that data may not have been shared with other departments. As a result, a separate department that is designing a clinical trial will do so without full access to all the data on the drug being tested. That, in turn, has the potential to unnecessarily compromise the safety of test subjects. As a result, learning how to better share data between departments is an important consideration for anybody interested in a career in pharmacovigilance.
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