How Technology is Changing the Landscape of the Clinical Trial

In the past, clinical trials companies have been somewhat conservative in adopting new technology but that is now changing rapidly, as new developments transform the way that research takes place. The rapid pace of change is the result of innovation in both clinical research and technology.

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Wearables and Mobiles Lead the Way

For example, wearable technology is transforming the way that data is collected from patients. The fact that data can be collected 24 hours a day, and that patients don’t need to be awake in order to transmit their data, is a revolutionary development. It’s particularly useful in longitudinal studies, where the need to recruit a patient group and monitor them over many years makes the studies very expensive to run.

With a continual feed of data over a period, researchers can look much more closely at the way diseases develop or the effect of treatments on the patient. The recruitment stage can be handled via patients’ mobile phones and apps, rather than expensive face-to-face interviews and paper forms.

Better Patient Representation Via Mobile Recruitment

A recent study by the director of the Icahn Institute at Mount Sinai in New York attempted to carry out the entire research process, including recruiting patients and gaining their consent, without any personal contact, using mobile phones instead. The study recruited 10,000 patients and researchers were able to get a better geographical distribution because patients living remotely or at a distance from the study centre were as well represented as those living within easy travelling distance.

In other studies, as reported by Voice of America, the mobile devices themselves have been used to record Parkinson’s patients’ dexterity and speed of response, identified when the patient tapped the phone in response to a prompt.

Other areas in which technology is being applied include automation of clinical research tasks, better analytics and initiatives to improve the experience of patients who are taking part in clinical research. Many contract research companies and clinical research organisations are now using pharmaceutical consulting experts to advise on the kinds of technology that could improve and extend their research activities.

One of the key areas that will need further development is the security of the data that is being collected. This is an increasing concern for members of the public.