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When a patient seeks care at a medical facility or agrees to participate in a clinical study, they should feel safe with all medical professionals involved. For Patient Safety Awareness Week, we’re showing you how important this part of drug development and medical care is year-round.

Key Highlights

Pharmacovigilance ensures patients can trust the people handling their healthcare. Learn more about the importance of patient safety and what we’re doing to address and enhance it in our work.

PRA Health Sciences
PRA Health Sciences

Many strides have been made in patient safety. Still, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 400,000 deaths happen in the United States each year due to unsafe medical care. When we look at the world as a whole, that number reaches about 2.6 million deaths in low- and middle-income countries alone.

Our Pharmacovigilance team at PRA works with technology experts and other areas of the medical team to better identify patient safety risks. With over 800 personnel in countries around the world to provide safety intelligence and regulatory control, we offer bespoke patient safety solutions that help ensure patients feel secure in the care they receive.

Why Do We Need Patient Safety Awareness?

Most adverse reactions, injuries, and deaths in the medical field result from preventable incidents. As a global health intelligence partner, PRA works to prevent as many of these incidents as possible.

Paying attention to patient safety means maximizing benefits while minimizing risks. For example, when PRA helps bring a drug to market, we want to ensure that the drug gives a better quality of life to as many patients as possible. We must consider the associated risks before the drug gets to market. If that step was skipped, the drug could inadvertently lower someone’s quality of life or cause unnecessary trauma to a patient or their loved ones.

Many medical incidents that cause injury or illness can create long-term issues, even without causing death. Our pharmacovigilance team works to go beyond what benefits most people and strives to develop solutions for people on an individual level.

Each patient is unique. Ignoring part of the population means that we don’t serve everyone who needs care. When we take measures to improve patient safety, especially concerning underserved communities, we get another step closer to accommodating all people.

Patient safety ties into public health issues. When we make patients feel safe going to their doctor or interacting with the healthcare system, they’re more likely to seek and receive adequate care.

What Does Pharmacovigilance Mean for the Pharmaceutical Industry?

Pharmacovigilance helps us identify the best treatment for each person at a given time. It builds trust in the industry, as well as in the medical professionals and researchers who work to help people living with different diseases and disorders. Building that trust means more people participate in trials and studies, which allows us to reach more people with new drugs and treatments. As a result, more people can receive treatments that can help them beyond these trials.

Brian Guza, Vice President, Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety Technology, says, “When we put the focus on patient safety, we learn how to help more people. It goes beyond a single group and gives us insight into who’s not getting what they need and why, and that’s when we can start figuring out how to fix those issues.”

Learn more about our commitment to patient safety.

By providing more educational and communication resources to medical professionals, they can understand where problems arise and prevent them. According to Catherine Godefroy, PharmD, MSc, PRA’s Executive Director of Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety, “Understanding and characterizing the safety profile of a medicinal product is key to further prevent or minimize risks to patients.” Catherine adds, “Development of benefit-risk management strategies and where possible, implementation of personalized therapy or personalized medicine could help keep adverse events down.”

When healthcare professionals consider individual safety, like how certain conditions become risk factors with different treatments or for specific diseases, they can reduce the harm done in the pharmaceutical industry.

How Have We Recently Improved Patient Safety?

Organizations worldwide have pharmacovigilance and patient safety teams that work toward bringing the best solutions to patients. Ours at PRA takes a comprehensive approach to patient safety.

We use specialized technology for safety surveillance and signal detection so that we can identify where something goes wrong as early as possible. That way, we can mitigate safety concerns before they reach patients. We also comply with many safety regulations to avoid those safety issues.

Our team has experience with various levels of signal management, and we put together safety teams that ensure patients receive care in the safest possible environments, whether they visit their doctor or join a clinical trial.

Our safety reporting teams typically include:

  • Safety Scientist
  • Medical Director
  • Safety Expert
  • Safety Writer
  • PV Systems Manager
  • Drug Safety Associate

Our pharmacovigilance and patient safety team has patient-centric approach, especially when it comes to working with other PRA teams. Our risk management team comes into play from the start, and we collaborate with technology experts who help develop the best technology to assess risks and evaluate safety, like Argus, Orbit, and Spotfire. These tools, among many others, help us understand, report, and reduce safety concerns and increase patient safety awareness.

We provide a comprehensive range of drug safety services, minimizing risk and protecting patient well-being from clinical development to post-marketing.

Find out how PRA's Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety team works to improve the patient experiences and lower risk of adverse events.

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