Automation Opportunities for Medical Affairs
Speaker: Rishi Ohri
Speaker: Shinya Suda
In this second episode, we’ll be meeting with Shinya Suda-san, Sr. Vice President and Global Head of Information Systems at Astellas to glean insights on Automation opportunities as it relates to Digital Transformation.
The podcast objectives are to:
- Understand the potential opportunities that automation has already provided at Astellas Pharma
- Discuss any future expectations and predictions on how automation can be one of the enablers of a Digital Transformation journey
- Learn about Digital Transformation best practices and lessons learned
Following is an automated transcription provided by otter.ai. Please excuse inaccuracies.
Rishi Ohri 00:00
Welcome to the Medical Affairs professional societies Digital Focus Area Working Group three-part podcast series focusing on Automation Opportunities for Medical Affairs. In the second podcast, we will be meeting with Shinya Suda, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Information Systems at Astellas to glean insights on automation opportunities as it relates to Digital transformation. My name is Rishi Ohri, and I’ll be the moderator for this podcast. I currently serve as a member of the Digital Focus Area Working Group and work for Astellas Pharma, and heading Digital Excellence for Medical Affairs. I’ve been working at Astellas Pharma for the past 14 years, and I’ve been focused on Medical Affairs Digital transformation for the past seven years. I should say the views expressed in this recording are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect on the opinions of MAPS, or the companies with which they are affiliated. This presentation is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as legal or regulatory advice. We encourage you to engage in conversations about Digital opportunities within Medical Affairs with other MAPS members via MAPS Connect on the MAPS website or mobile app. Simply log in with your email address and password associated with your MAPS account and access the global community and then click on the discuss tab. Scroll down and post your questions or review for previous recordings. Let’s get started with the podcast podcast objectives are three major items. One to understand the potential opportunities that automation is already provided at Astellas Pharma, also understand and discuss any future expectations and predictions on how automation can be one of our enablers on our Digital transformation journey. And finally, we’re going to talk through some Digital transformation, best practices and lessons learned. I’d like to thank today’s panelists for sharing their subject matter expertise with the MAPS membership. Speaking today is Shinya Suda. Welcome to today’s podcast, extremely happy to facilitate to have you share some perspectives on this topic. Can you please briefly provide information about your current position?
Shinya Suda 02:27
Irises, thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk with you. I took the lead of Japan local it into 2011 and global ID Information Systems Division in 2015. And then the head of the information systems of Astellas Pharma, I have been in the IT world since I joined this company 30 years ago, although I am certified pharmacists in Japan.
Rishi Ohri 02:57
Wow, what a fantastic history Suda-san. Thank you for sharing that. And so referring back to some of our objectives for this discussion, as part of our Digital transformation, activities at Astellas, I would say that automation should be considered an enabler and also maybe a vital capability. I’m really eager to understand where you see those potential opportunities for automation. And from your perspective, can you please share your thoughts, Suda-san?
Shinya Suda 03:29
Thank you. So I totally agree that automation is one of the strong enablers of data transformation. And I get to emphasize that automation is not just for reducing operational costs by replacing human operations with mercy. One aspect of key values of automation is to repeat the same operation in a short time at high quality to realize agility, accuracy, and resiliency, especially in pharmacovigilance. As a case, it is important for pharmaceutical companies to handle a large volume of safety data as quickly as possible at high level of quality. More importantly, upon automation, people can spend time and make efforts or more strategic and creative things. It is reality expectation through the automation, I believe.
Rishi Ohri 04:30
Well, thank you so much Suda-san, and very insightful, for sure. And I know in Medical Affairs, specifically there’s there’s so many opportunities to leverage automation as we think of all of the sea of data we’re collecting from interactions with with HCPs with patients with with payers and understanding how that text can be mined, you know, through natural language processing and other AI technologies, which is really a major advancement and understanding of We can leverage Digital and technology to support our automation journey. So thank you very insightful, Shinya, can you please share any further expectations or predictions on how you think automation could be one of the enablers of a Digital transformation journey.
Shinya Suda 05:18
So, there are two ways to introduce automation. One is to automate the current process where possible. Another is to redesign an automated process for automation with minimal fuming operation when necessary. We haven’t been able to redesign and optimize operations for automation using process mining methodology yet within Astellas. At once we can do this we will be able to gain much bigger benefits through automation. In addition, combination of automation with other Digital tools like chatbot, or natural language processing, will enable us to visualize performance of business processes and visualize useful knowledge. For example, if we introduce chatbot, and natural language processing, technology with automation, for receiving inquiries and handling requests, we can investigate inquiries and requests so that we can prepare better knowledge database to handle them.
Rishi Ohri 06:28
Very good. So adding more of a consistent response yet repurposing resources towards more high value activities. That That sounds fantastic. And and thanks so much, Suda-san, on for your response and your predictions, as head of of information systems at Astellas and also in our journey on accelerating Digital transformation. I’m really interested and eager to understand more of your thoughts on best practices for Digital transformation and any advice or lessons learned takeaways for our listeners today?
Shinya Suda 07:04
Thank you. So I can think of two things. One is to make transactional data as an enterprise asset. AI and machine learning technologies are rapidly evolving, but they cannot demonstrate any value if we have no valuable stock of data. So we should design data model and architecture when we introduce automation or other Digital solutions so that we can utilize the value of data using technologies. Another one is the best mix of people and data. We often hear stories, such as if you digitize the process, we don’t need people anymore. However, it is important to properly determine when to proceed with the automation and when to operate by people. I can think I can tell you one example. All piloting technologies of airplanes have kept evolving in the last 20 years. However, we still have professional pilots in the cockpit of airplanes, unlocking capability of human by Digital technologies, not replacing humans simply, it can be one of the best practices that we should aim at. Thank you.
Rishi Ohri 08:41
I think thank you, Suda-san. That’s a great example. And also some takeaways I learned just right now is you know, start with the end in mind when you’re setting up your architecture for automation. And the skill sets for our teams needs to be upskilled to incorporate more and more Digital innovation capability. So thanks for that and some amazing insights and takeaways. Everyone is at different mile markers on their Digital transformation journey. And as a member of the MAPS Digital Focus Area Working Group, we recently developed a white paper that will help provide guidance on Creating a Digital strategy and also some best practices. So please make sure to check that out on the MAPS websites, I think it will be a great resource for those starting to build their transformation journey for Digital. Well that one very quickly and I wanted to give a huge thanks to our speaker, Shinya Suda-san, this has been the second podcast in the series on the topic, automation opportunities for Medical Affairs. In our next and final episode we will be continuing the discussion with one of my counterparts from MAPS Digital focus area working with them. I’m excited to have that discussion. And if you are a MAPS member, thank you for are supportive MAPS and if you’re not yet a MAPS member and would like to access to the additional resources in this area, please do visit the MAPS website and exploring and joining our MAPS community today. You can join at Medical Affairs.org/membership. And this concludes this podcast.