Pharma module outline 0.1

There are already a series of excellent background pharma eLearning modules which cover all phases into marketing authorisation which we will reference & link to during the content development.

This primer is to encourage people to ‘do’ based on their background knowledge and experience. It also links with ethos of the water sanitation module subject matter experts and how to encourage researchers to develop their capacity and others around them.

Target audience

  • Existing People’s University students who may have some clinical background or an interest in a clinical career.
  • Citizens with an idea either for medicine or medical device/technology who may either be ‘tinkering’ in the case of technology or possibly doing some informal research.
  • Citizens who are interested in finding out more about routes that medical or tech entrepreneurs might be following in their country.
  • Citizens who may have people they know or themselves with a disease and are passionate about finding a cure but have limited access to pharma/tech industries

Outcomes  (full outcomes currently under further discussion)

  • To start a discussion with relevant partner and/or to take forward an idea into a phase of development that is regulated.
  • To identify appropriate future markets for their idea and how to navigate the regulatory practices that may be applicable
  • To evaluate risks and prepare safe conditions for the investigation of their idea

Outline (may change completely in the next week and if it doesn’t, not necessarily in this order)

  1. Taking forward my/our idea
    • How?
    • Is it my/our idea to develop?
    • Is my/our idea going to matter / success against a pharma giant like GSK, Pfizer?
    • What are the environmental and other conditions affecting my idea (possibly loosely around PESTLE 2.0)
    • Innovation ‘case study’ / vignette / scenario
  2. What are the regulatory and industry environments where my idea will develop
    • EU case study / vignette / scenario
    • Regulatory information gathering
    • Legislation & harmonisation
    • Horizon scanning
  3. How can I/we reduce risk?
    • Safety case studies / vignettes / possibly a fun pharma industry archetype
    • Environmental health considerations
    • Liability
  4. How can I / we find partners or identify expertise?
    • this may include a link to an outcome of a complementary water sanitation research project that I will know more about shortly but generally capacity building
    • How to protect idea
    • Markets & Sales (e.g. reference to Dragons Den / Angels investment & pharma/tech)

A reviewer has pointed out that people would be tempted to skip 1-3 as 4 sounds the best way to get going. We may or may not open up 4 until some of 1-3 completed but agreed that if we can’t point out why the groundwork of 1-3 is useful to make the best of 4 then we have essentially failed !

Any comments welcome


Quick fly through mobile apps, assumptions and design

Firstly – two apps which I use a lot on my phone – easy presentation, minimal typing and selection of anything including navigation. Quick to dip in and out.

screenshots of met office and national rail app

An app I haven’t used for a while but did once whilst collecting lots of NHS clips in a hurry – Evernote – much more text to read , fairly light menu.

screenshot of Evernote mobile app notes list

Can’t find a classic mobile apps versus web article from 2007/8ish but AlistApart one of the best from 2010 (post the debates with Google/Apple rushing along with html5) More in all my bookmarks on everything in the universe up to 2013 – rest still @nicolaavery on Del.ic.ious or whatever it’s called, don’t use now.

So briefly continuing to entertain idea that a mobile app which presented articles could possibly still be a good thing – quick list on mixed links on pain from different journals across Dovepress openaccess & also sample post with lots of links from an amazing doctor in the UK who writes about pain. You could imagine these as a list with preview as in Evernote above. Or a search with tags on different aspects of pain or drugs related to pain management or therapies etc

You could present it with blocks of colour or circles e.g. in examples 1, 2, you can pay attention to e.g. gestalt principles, but these are just one example of psychology and visual perception.


This assumes a lot including 1) that smartphone is affordable, 2) an app is a good idea 3) a busy professional has time to look at it & can navigate it 4) they want to spend time looking at a small device to read.

Taking a few steps back, two examples

gestures and interactions from Near Future Laboratory

ergonomics and interactions from Designing for Humans

Both the above are too brief to go into attention and eye strain for example, so another assumption could be removed which is that a mobile device needs to be touched in some way e.g. using a spoken web instead. Or another assumption that a mobile phone needs to provide the presentation i.e. the articles in a visual or audio format, when instead it could be a mobile delivery mechanism e.g. mobile web server. However it might be a that a local non-mobile server does a better job.




British TKD Nationals

I wasn’t fighting though may do next year if back to competition fights by spring. Although I would have been one of if not the oldest competitor there this year – but as I started martial arts at 35, still feel younger in some respects…

2 clips of some fighting yesterday (not our fighters due to phone battery fading and using their own phones to do video). Good young fighters coming through and good to see Lutalo there, a very decent guy according to those who know, he very kindly spent ages signing everything for anyone that wanted – it’s amazing to see the impact he has had in inspiring young fighters to come through.




Training update

Managed 3 tkd sessions in Sept which is just about equal to the amount I’ve done the rest of year. Mind tightening making slow progress.

First aikido session this week – interesting, great instructor. Never really done break falls before so was doing from knees. Backwards breakfalls weren’t really happening. Have fallen 0ver loads in martial arts but when told to fall backwards, a small argument with myself which has yet to be resolved

Fall backwards


Fall backwards


Fall backwards 


I did, but not with any degree of proficiency. Weird though because when I did abseiling was ok or even diving backwards off diving boards as a kid was fine, maybe having an off week.

Very different to tkd but good complement.

An end or new generation of social networks

I had a twitter account in 2006/7 when it was still a project management tool and half my team at PWC were based in US so we sort of tried to use for work but it was mostly talking with other elearning type people elsewhere and it was a big time for Second Life so lots of virtual world experimenting taking precedence.

Have repeatedly come off and on it since then. Like Facebook.

When Twitter is sold at the end of the year probably to Google, with Microsoft owning LinkedIn, it is a death of how social betworks online will function. No matter what these US companies do (emperors and nightingales).

Whether a new free open source Twitter takes off, remains to be seen. Or whether other social networks outside of these familiar ones evolve into something different online (longer term). 

Finding more and more that people are sick of their ideas being stolen by others in developed countries who are connected with specific political influence at the time.

Water sanitation module update

We have agreed to begin development of the open access materials on People’s University in early 2017. There are also other research and partnership possibilities together with People’s University that they would like to explore, one of which we will know more about by the end of next week. Surrey subject matter experts are also in increased teaching commitments this term so it will be better all round to keep discussions and planning going throughout the rest of 2016 so that we can quickly move forward when convenient after that.

We also agreed that water sanitation and environmental health were a good fit for the existing content on People’s University so will be exploring additional environmental health connections too during the next few months.

It also gives me time to afford to read some of their thinking in the (apparently £160 in hardback!) Handbook of Water and Health







Projects update

Royal Marsden

Moving from systems dev on the Learning Hub (our LMS) into business as usual & developing a fun approach to commissioning learning alongside some core learning governance & establishing a network of interests. Additional systems development will involve linking with external providers (in progress) possibly appraisal & revalidation and future links with other Royal Marsden educational facilities.

Regular design & development of modules and a randomised trial of online versus offline – very brief paper to follow at some point in autumn


Had a good discussion with People’s University and decided on a format which will be an open-access ooc with an online discussion open for a specific couple of weeks during which any learners can ask our subject matter experts anything. They have experimented with live classroom format with mixed results due to timezones confusion and also multi-lingual courses in French and Spanish also with mixed results. We discussed translation of materials in advance versus use of learner browser tools and decided to continue in English and see what emerges.

  • Pharma – outline by end of next week – due to the large area it encompasses for a short course, this will be interesting to make it meaningful and case studies/scenarios/examples from MHRA & hopefully EMA. EUPATI have released a patient involvement eLearning program which can be added into Moodle so that will be useful to embed.
  • Mobile & apps innovation – will be linked into pharma course
  • Water sanitation  – meeting this Thursday to discuss

I read an article about doctors being unable to access the latest research. This is common in many countries including UK for possibly similar reasons – time spent with patients & other activities, infrequent or patchy internet access, cost of accessing subscription models for journals & also lack of routes to find research.

I have started to make enquiries with Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research about developing an app to help disseminate research, with some interest shown. There are many aggregators of research and it still brings back to the same issues that have existed since the early days of mobile phones,  what is the context of the users, what is useful on a small screen, what is ergonomically good design versus other hardware or software formats. I’ve also met with a colleague from the National Institute of Health Research who has been given the go-ahead by MHRA for an app so everything seems to be coming together at the right time.

Chronic pain research is a personal area of research mainly due to a relative with chronic pain over 20 years, that I started to look into years ago , but have not caught up with (arthritis & Parkinson’s). Will be posting soon with ideas once I’ve looked into the last few years of links as an example of information visual display, until further updates from RM & ICR as and when.

Creating a large spreadsheet of martial arts clubs across the Eurovision areas for a separate project and will also be sending to DojoDirectory. Norway is the best country in that there is a map of many different martial arts and where the clubs are located. Aikiweb is the best martial arts resource for a martial arts with a very comprehensive directory of clubs across the world. If anyone wants, it will be online from the weekend.

It’s not a pretty or very comprehensive spreadsheet but will be a starting point – approx 4000 entries for clubs & 230 for federations. Taekwondo clubs have been very difficult to find without looking at individual websites so haven’t and some of the less popular martial arts. Some UK clubs included but not taekwondo (most clubs available via ITF or WTF UK websites). Anything missed is not a political statement just ran out of time or couldn’t find.




Why doesn’t technology provide an economic payoff in healthcare?

Answers in a great post from Healthcare Renewal who have by far the most comprehensive views on technology implementations in health systems that I have come across.

“I do not think “political appeal” is a good justification for a multi-billion dollar cybernetic experiment in medicine, where the risks of the technology are considerable and where basic healthcare needs are not being well met among the poor and underprivileged.
Former ONC Chair David Brailer is quoted:
“People confuse information automation with creating the kind of work environment where productivity and creativity can flourish,” said Dr. David J. Brailer, who was the national health technology coordinator in the George W. Bush administration. “And so little has gone into changing work so far.”
Brailer was little better than Jha, and moves the goalposts with a type of circular logic.  He appears to be saying that technology that will revolutionize medicine can’t work until we change how things are done in medicine so the technology can revolutionize medicine.1
This may be why there is an increase in technology companies partnering with big pharma so that regulation can be skipped which means the several hundred year old issues of marketing a product with claims that cannot be clinically or scientifically proven will continue and there will not be an economic dividend other than short term benefits for the boards and senior members of those companies.
I covered this briefly and partly incoherently (according to my reviewer) in Computers, Code and Conflict.
This is not just systems, devices, apps – there are some obvious incredible benefits with development of radiotherapy, key hole surgery, robotic surgery in some cases etc
It’s the claims of the rest without scrutiny about their safety and efficacy. Advanced algorithms (now commonly called & hyped AI) and doctors/nurses vocation are not interchangeable. Do no harm is commonly used in scifi and technology literature but do no harm is at the core of the humans that are in clinical professions especially those in public services. They are not concepts that politicians and technology companies can understand  in the same way unless they have previously worked in those professions or partly in similar public services protecting public safety.

On a related note, The Politics of NHS Market Reforms

1. Silverstein S (2016)NY Times/Steve Lohr asks “Why the Economic Payoff From Technology Is So Elusive.” The answer in medicine is obvious,

Royal Marsden & cancer therapies for children

The hospital I work in is always carrying out amazing research into care, treatment and prevention.

There are so many brave patients here especially the younger ones sometimes with terminal illnesses. The staff don’t give up either, working tirelessly to improve health and their care before, during and after.