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Next steps for using real world evidence

Today, the Academy published a FORUM meeting report exploring progress in the use of real world evidence since its joint workshop with the ABPI in 2015.

Overall, it is clear that progress has been limited, despite an appetite amongst stakeholders to better capitalise on this resource.

The FORUM meeting in January 2018 brought together academia, industry, the NHS, regulators, health technology assessment bodies, funders and others, including key international stakeholders such as the FDA, EMA, US National Academy of Medicine and the Duke Margolis Centre for Health Policy. It examined the current landscape for using real world evidence for decision-making, particularly around effectiveness of interventions, and progress since the 2015 meeting.

Co-chaired by Professor Sir Alasdair Breckenridge FRSE FMedSci and Professor Andrew Morris FRSE FMedSci, it began with updates from the National Academy of Medicine, regulators and NICE on their work in this area, followed by discussion sessions with all participants.

The meeting highlighted that progress in using real world evidence has been incremental rather than transformational. This has resulted in a dearth of case studies demonstrating the use real world evidence – particularly for assessing effectiveness of interventions – that are needed to encourage and guide its use.

In addition, there are still notable challenges around terminology which must be addressed to ensure there is a shared understanding of what real world evidence encompasses.

Overall, further research is needed to fully understand the strengths and limitations of real world evidence and the circumstances in which it might be a useful tool. This includes exploring the potential ‘trade-offs’ against using other types of evidence where there may be different advantages and disadvantages.

The meeting report can be downloaded from the righthand side of this page.

For further details or to discuss the Academy’s FORUM, please contact

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