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Cases Digex Co. Otsuka

Digitalization of clinical trials and oncology treatment

Automation of interaction with cancer patients
Otsuka Pharmaceutical
2012 – 2014
One of the largest Japanese pharma holdings. Otsuka Pharmaceutical became 562nd in the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world’s largest public companies in 2021.
The company is engaged in production of various drugs and medical equipment. And it also works in related sectors: cosmetics, food, drugs clinical trials.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical became famous for production of nutraceuticals, as well as Pocari Sweat, popular soft drink for athletes, and Oronamin C, energy drink.

About the client

The industry related to oncological diseases and cancer patients has always been emotionally complex. It requires a special ethical approach. Japanese clinics treated cancer patients while testing new treatments in collaboration with research labs.

There was a classic offline process involving too many appointments. Patients had treatment and voluntarily tested new drugs. Every doctor’s appointment meant correction of treatment and meds. Patients took meds and followed the latest physician’s instructions. During the next appointment, doctors interviewed patients. Doctors usually asked how patients took drugs, how their state changed during the week, and so on. Patients answered and reported to doctors. But since there were gaps between appointments, the reliability and timeliness of data decreased. This could be due to a change in physical health, or because of patents' emotional distress.

Patients received treatment. Doctors collected patients' data in a few days. Patients could forget something by this time. Half of the details were sure to be lost already at this stage. Under such circumstances, doctors reacted to changes in a patient’s condition with a delay.

Besides, treatment involved researchers who tested new drugs on volunteer patients. So, the researchers received less reliable data and got it only by the end of clinical trials. Triple information distortion took place. And researchers could not promptly influence patients' treatment. It was impossible to consider specific patients' cases within the treatment course. As a result, scientists received only average data with a delay in time.

The challenge

Digex Co. team had a challenge to create a complex IT product for pharma. Ethical aspect of oncology-related processes also complicated the situation. It was decided to create communication lines with patients who took new drugs of all types.

In total, the project had 4 types of audience:
Patients undergoing treatment.
Physicians working with patients and treating them with experimental drugs.
Researches testing drugs within clinical trials.
Therapists easing emotional distress of cancer patients.

Implementation of this IT solution comprised a complex system consisting of several parts.

IT system for doctors and researchers
Project-related recording system takes into account applicable laws and complies with GDPR and HIPAA standards. Solution operates in a protected private contour of cancer centers.

Software is integrated with CRM and e-logs of 15 hospitals, as well as other medical recording systems. Digex Co. developers have combined this solution with recording systems of separate medical institutions that collect clinical trials data using API.

Our engineers have set up and launched separate servers for processing various data types. Data streams have been distributed across IT systems of specific hospitals and different research centers.

Patient’s Mobile app
iOS and Android apps with the interface based on the avatar principle. Cancer patients visually determined disease-affected area and state changes. Patients kept journals in the app and described their states. They also performed various medical tasks. For example, to take blood pressure, to go to bed, to do blood or other tests, double the dose of meds or start using the next med.

Doctors set individual tasks via IT system, as well as monitored their implementation and kept in touch with patients. Patients also kept in touch with doctors using mobile app and checked completed tasks off.

The app was upgraded with a guide. Each patient had all information about the disease, stages, symptoms, and forecasts for various treatments. This guide contained a relevant set of textual, photo and video materials.

Thanks to this app, patients were guided by therapists who reacted to their states and corrected their behavior. Upon written patients' permissions, access to full data on treatment and interactions with doctors was provided to close relatives.

Work progress

Digex Co. team has implemented a unique project to digitalize clinical trials. This IT solution has significantly accelerated the development of oncological drugs. Clinical trials were adjusted daily, increasing patients' chances of recovery.

Complex IT solution was actively used by cancer patients and their relatives. In the short-run, the project has helped hundreds of cancer patients, prolonged their lives and eased their disease. Long-run collaboration of patients, doctors, therapists, and researchers helped to invent advanced drugs and fight cancer more effectively

The result

3 000+
doctors used the IT solution for onco treatment
patients of oncology clinics in Japan received treatment and improved their medical condition
cut the duration of clinical testing for new onco drugs
1 500+
researchers accelerated development of onco drugs

Facts and figures

medical centers adopted the system to treat their patients
comprehensive solution for digital transformation of onco treatment and clinical testing

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