July 20, 2009 | A textbook example of adaptive clinical trial design… A soup-to-nuts next-generation sequence analysis pipeline... A biological registration repository developed collaboratively by two big pharmas… A computerized clinical alert system for physicians and patients… Sophisticated yet user-friendly imaging software for automated cell microscopy... Systems for monitoring and reporting adverse events… A one-stop portal for managing a major bitoech’s clinical trials.

These were some of the undisputed highlights in our largest and most rewarding Bio•IT World Best Practices competition yet. This year’s competition drew a record 72 entries—the most since we first held Best Practices in 2003—making the task of the judges harder than ever. Earlier this year, our judging panel spent two days in closed-door deliberations, debating and ranking every entry in eight categories. In addition to the winners in each category, we also awarded two special awards: the Judges’ Prize and the Editor’s Choice award.

While the winners in some categories were essentially unanimous selections, others provoked heavy debate. Despite the best efforts of our distinguished panel, selecting the most worthy “best practice” is often a complicated and subjective decision. Should we give credit to a big pharma with its vast resources or the innovation displayed by a small start-up? Is a convincing demonstration of ROI more important than potential of a newer unproven technology? Is a proprietary technology as worthy as a solution with potential to spread across the industry?

After all the deliberations, we firmly believe that the ten winners of this year’s Best Practices Awards, profiled in the pages that follow, offer inspiring stories demonstrating the value of ingenuity, perseverance, and collaboration. As always, we hope that these articles—written by Deb Borfitz, Kevin Davies, Alissa Poh and Allison Proffitt—showcase the innovation coursing through our field, and capture technologies and strategies that will have an impact far beyond the groups and organizations recognized in this section.

We think it’s also important to list and credit all 72 entries in this year’s competition, including the entries that, based on their super scores, earned a well deserved Honorable Mention. It would not surprise at all if some of these 72 entries may yet have a bigger impact than our 2009 winners. Our judges are experts but hardly infallible. After all, each season on American Idol, one of the clear favorites is shockingly sent home early, only to upstage the eventual winner by bagging an Oscar or (this year’s runner-up) posing for the cover of Rolling Stone. This may be of little comfort to those who entered and didn’t win, but we hope to follow the progress of many more Best Practices entrants in the months ahead.

As always, we sincerely thank our judges for their time and insight, our CHI colleagues for putting on a memorable awards dinner, and everyone associated with the 72 entrants. We especially congratulate all the winners, their organizations, and nominating companies, and invite one and all to begin thinking about submissions for the 2010 competition. The entry process begins again this October.

2009 Winners and Honorable Mentions

Basic Research: National Center for Genome Resources.
Nominated by SAS
“NCGR’s Schizophrenia Genome Project”

Clinical Trials Management: Genentech
Nominated by ePharmaSolutions
“The Clinical Trial Portal”

Clinical Trials Design: Wyeth Research
Nominated by Tessella
“Design of adaptive clinical trials using Adaptive Design Explorer”

Drug Discovery & Development: Amgen
Nominated by Genedata
“Amgen Lead Discovery Informatics”

IT Informatics: The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Knowledge Management: Vanderbilt University
Nominated by ActiveHealth Management
“A computerized, clinically intelligent system to deliver clinical alerts to physicians and their patients improves care and lowers health care costs.”

Knowledge Management, Pharma: Merck & Co. and Abbott Laboratories
Nominated by Accelrys
“Biological Knowledge Management: Registration, Association, and Sharing”

Translational and Personalized Medicine: GlaxoSmithKline
Nominated by ProSanos Corporation
“SÆftyWorks: Leveraging Observational data to explore the effects of medicines”

Editor’s Choice Award: AstraZeneca
Nominated by BioWisdom
“Safety Intelligence Program”

Judges’ Prize: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
“Pediatric Knowledgebase”

Honorable mention was given to the following entries:
• AstraZeneca nominated by Medidata Solutions
• Pathwork Diagnostics nominated by Univa UD
• Genentech nominated by Dolcera
• AstraZeneca nominated by Thermo Fisher Scientific
• CEA (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique) nominated by Bio-Modeling Systems

2009 Best Practices Judges

Stephen Fogelson, Devolotron
Stan Kachnowski, Health Information and Technology Lab
Jerry Schindler, Merck
Sandy Aronson, Harvard Medical School
Ernie Bush, Cambridge Healthtech Associates
Joseph Cerro, Consultant
Al Doig, CHI Insight Pharma Reports
Bill Van Etten, BioTeam
Noemi Greyzdorf, IDC
Jim Kremidas, Quintiles
Alan Louie, Health Industry Insights/IDC
Eric Neumann, Clinical Semantics Group
Deepak Thakkar, SGI
Phillips Kuhl, Cambridge Healthtech Institute