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The use of real world data to assess the safety and effectiveness of drugs and medical treatments is among the most controversial topics in medicine. As chief executive of Aetion, a New York City startup that sells software to analyze those data, Carolyn Magill is in the middle of the fray — one whose outcome will have a huge impact on how medicines are studied and priced in the future.

During an interview with STAT at last week’s Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C., the former insurance executive passionately made the case that analyzing real world data is crucial for incorporating patient experiences into decision-making by drug companies, insurers, providers, and regulators.

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