Medhealth Review

AMY ABERNETHY: Extending Innovative Solutions Towards the Clinical Research Sector


M.D., Ph.D.

“Our work is focused on shifting the paradigm from “one size fits all” medicine to one focused on a more comprehensive view of the individual that leads to a more personalized path forward,”

The modern healthcare industry requires something that goes beyond conventional approaches. The last few years have been challenging yet critical for the worldwide healthcare industry. The most common factor has been the coronavirus and the consequential restrictions and challenges. The industry was at a crucial stage wherein innovative methods were to be implemented quickly while facing a never-before scenario. The new requirements and challenges were a great opportunity in disguise for healthcare executives.

However, as healthcare enterprises adjust to the post-pandemic scenario, the need for reformed approaches is more apparent than ever. The Affordable Care Act has also been immensely influential for the healthcare industry. The most evident impact is the increased focus on value-based care. Besides all these critical trends, the whole industry encounters a continuous adaptation of technology into both the core and related sectors of the healthcare industry.

To sum it up, the industry has witnessed crucial changes and offers many professional opportunities. In addition, the industry has seen many executives rising to the occasion and thriving hard to come up with innovative solutions that are well-aligned with the industry’s unique requirements. A prominent presence among the most influential healthcare professionals is Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D. Currently, Abernethy serves as President of Clinical Research Business, Verily.

Verily is a part of the Alphabet Umbrella of Google and is headquartered in San Fransisco. The firm has ventured into different aspects of healthcare and life sciences. Besides, the company has made significant contributions toward designing screening and testing for the coronavirus during the peak days of the pandemic. Verily has also successfully extended comprehensive care solutions for critical illnesses such as diabetes and sleep apnea. The other area of expertise is developing medical devices, including miniaturized continuous glucose level monitors. Presently, verily has gained immense attention for its contributions to enhancing the clinical research sector.

“The mission of Verily is to build the solutions needed to unlock the promise of precision health for everyone every day,” explains Abernethy. Abernethy retains a distinct outlook on what’s happening in the clinical research industry. Always at the forefront of the most recent developments, this is what she had to say about how Verily has become an integral part of the clinical research industry, “We believe that clinical research is changing, and it’s becoming inherently more longitudinal. It is now becoming research that takes place across time, and, as a result, people will need to be involved for longer and longer periods in research studies. And if that’s true, we need to get smarter about how we do that work for research to be meaningful but not burdensome.


The clinical trials market was worth about USD 21.4 billion by the end of 2020. It is expected to progress at an estimated CAGR of 5.3% between 2021 through 2028.

The growth-influencing aspects of the market include

• l More research on the R &D activities
• l More Vaccine trials
• l Enhanced need for personalized medication
• l Active and rapid incorporation of technology into the sector, and
• l Increasing collaborations between biotechnology firms, pharmaceutical enterprises, and clinical research firms

The covid-19 is another factor not to be ignored while talking about the clinical research industry. Like most other industries, the pandemic has been a controlling aspect of the industry. The coronavirus compelled people to stay indoors to avoid contact as it was the only possible way to curb the virus’s rapid spread.

As far as the clinical research industry is concerned, the virus and the subsequent restrictions adversely impacted the industry’s capability to carry out clinical trials safely and productively. In addition, the supply chain of clinical research samples was interrupted as a primary consequence of closed borders. This restrictive feature has been a disrupting factor for the industry. As the pandemic turns less intense, the industry can transform the post-pandemic situation into a great opportunity.

The efforts to deal with the covid-19 restrictions have led to new developments in the industry. For instance, the industry can rely on virtual clinical trials. Virtual trials have great significance in the current scenario. These virtual visits and online patient monitoring give patients a comfortable and relaxing option to deal with risks. Consequently, patients are able to be a part of clinical trials relying on software applications, mobile phones, or other clinical monitoring devices.

More patients can be made part of the study through virtual methods, and the results are comparatively more accurate. The data obtained is more diverse and informative. So, the modern clinical research industry is full of great opportunities provided the right strategy for research is implemented. Abernethy has been leading the well-researched efforts by Verily to extend the aptest approach towards clinical research that complies with the industry’s unique requirements and future goals.


The clinical research industry is constantly altering. More research is happening, and technology incorporation is more than ever. Therefore, the conventional strategies are less effective in the present scenario. As evident, the study has to be in-depth and meaningful yet not too monotonous or oppressive. The firm places massive importance on devising software for clinical sites to enable more effective clinical trials. The company extends a diverse range of remote clinical trial participants-monitoring solutions. This is possible using a watch equipped with sensors capable of extracting the required data. Then, a physical examination is stimulated.

Such an approach eliminates the need to pay multiple visits to the hospital. Moreover, the entire clinical research process turns more precise and informative besides being safe and less burdensome. To explain it well, the participant in the study is encouraged to carry out specific tasks. For instance, a patient with Parkinson’s disease is encouraged to carry out small physical activities such as standing up or trying slight movement of arms and so on through the watch. Verily was incepted in 2015 from Google X. The firm’s efforts are oriented towards ensuring the benefits of precision health to all patients across different sectors. “Our work is focused on shifting the paradigm from “one size fits all” medicine to one focused on a more comprehensive view of the individual that leads to a more personalized path forward,” says the official website.


Abernathy has an impressive career in healthcare. Abernethy is a qualified hematologist/oncologist and a palliative care expert who has received international fame and is a clinical research expert. Her areas of interest are across multiple sectors including the real-world evidence, cancer data, health services research, PROs, patient-centered care, and clinical informatics. Abernethy has served as Principal Deputy Commissioner, Food and Drugs.

Her duties include overseeing the day-to-day functions of the agency. She was also responsible for directing high-priority initiatives associated with drug regulation by the FDA, tobacco, food, and medical devices. Besides, she has had successful stints with Flatiron Health in various capacities that range from Chief Medical Officer to Senior Vice President. She was also a professor of medicine at Duke School of Medicine. She was also part of the National Cancer Policy Forum by the National Academy of Medicine as an appointed member. She has been the former President of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.