Introducing PharmaVoice’s Woman of the Week, Chief Product Office, Julia Lakeland

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An article by PharmaVoice | Woman of the Week: uMotif’s Julia Lakeland

Julia Lakeland has been part of the technology revolution that has shaped and reshaped how clinical research is conducted for more than 25 years. Lakeland joined ClinPhone, a pioneer in interactive response technology, in 1999. Having studied technology and operations while in college, she thought the growing company might be a good starter job, but soon realized for her it was all “about the people.”

“(ClinPhone) was about how technology can be used to transform clinical research,” she said. “In full transparency, I joined straight out of uni and thought, ‘I’ll give it three years then will move on.’ But I genuinely love what we do. I love the industry and the difference that we bring. So, 25 years on, I’m still here and I’m still in the same industry. I’m still as passionate as I was when I was 19.”

Over the course of her career, Lakeland has seen her share of trends and new technologies. Still, one concept has reigned supreme.

“I have had the experience of working across the full spectrum of clinical systems and technology enhancements, and I’ve tried to bring it all back to a simple concept — what’s the data and who’s the user,” she said. “Just looking at the world around us and how technology is part of our world, there is a natural progression for how we conduct scientific research in the future.”

Today, as chief product officer of uMotif, an eCOA/ePRO technology-based company, Lakeland continues to push to improve the clinical trial experience for patients and other key stakeholders.

“When I look at what those future trends are likely to be, I think [about] the use of AI and machine learning … not just for conditions, but also how we target patient recruitment, where we’re looking for our patient populations and (how) we’re thinking about diverse populations,” she said. “Accepting how technology is used in the world is going to be a key driver for us and how we conduct scientific research going forward. And that’s why I find this so exciting. The digital world is accelerating at a pace faster than anything else that we’ve seen in the past.”

While Lakeland is excited by the future possibilities that evolving technologies can bring to make clinical research accessible and easier for all to participate with, she is also pragmatic in “looking at what the value of the tech is and not just for tech sake.”

“I think you have to be really careful to make sure that your tech is always fit for purpose,” she said. “Accepting that technology is part of what we do and how we behave can be brought in to look at how we can capture data objectively in the future.”

In this WoW episode, Lakeland speaks to how technology is transforming clinical research, the inherent challenges involved with a new digital world and the deployment of clinical research globally.