How is Technology Advancing Clinical Trials?

August 4, 2022
Ann Oliver

Traditional clinical trials have primarily relied on face-to-face contact and paper-based methods, but that’s no longer the case.

As health industry experts ObvioHealth explains (https://www.obviohealth.com/decentralized-clinical-trial-platform), a majority of clinical trials are conducted using electronic methods, for example, electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs).

Increasingly, researchers are turning to electronic tools to help speed up their work and improve the efficiency of their studies. This post will help you understand the advantages and challenges of these new tools for clinical trials.

What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are research studies carried out on people to evaluate surgical, medical, or behavioural interventions. They are the fundamental ways that researchers discover if an advanced treatment, like a new drug, medical device, or diet is effective and safe for people.

With innovations taking place in various technological fields, clinical trials have also exerted influence from these technological changes.

The Impact of Digital Technologies in Clinical Trials

Patient recruitment

Recruitment is a crucial stage in clinical trials as it involves several steps to find eligible participants. With new technologies in clinical trials, such as electronic informed consent, mobile communications, and electronic data capture, recruitment is now an easy thing.

With mobile communications, the ever-presence of social media can be used by project developers to improve the recruitment and outreach of trial participants from multiple groups, including under-served communities.

Mobile communications work efficiently provided there is a stable connection. Therefore, problems with distance are solved as clinical trials can reach remote areas.

Patient data collection

Patient data is fundamental in clinical trials. With the help of the Medical Internet of Things like wearables, smartphone-based apps, and mobile devices, collecting data in the real world has become more reliable and effective.

Wearables are the most used devices in MIoT and have played a big part in impacting the patient’s day-to-day life. Information on research directions and end clinical outcomes can transmit through the connection of MIoT to the internet.

They help in the use of central data hubs and to automate data monitoring that can be complex to capture.

Wearables can be minimally intrusive technology but can introduce vulnerability in many ways. These include; discomfort, uneasiness to use, and potential privacy and security vulnerabilities.

For the proper use of these devices, regulatory approval is needed since they are complex and do not provide transparency.

Decentralized clinical trials

This is the future of clinical trials. Covid-19 disrupted many things involved in the way and quality of life.
A separate side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic appears in the swift adoption of virtual interactions between patients and physicians. This helped in maintaining social distancing while providing continuity of care.

Virtual interactions are facilitated by these advanced technologies; electronic health records, real-time video conferencing, strong internet connectivity, and smartphone health applications.

A fully decentralized clinical trial offers administration and delivery of study medication, subject recruitment, and accession to trial outcomes data without physical touch between the subject and the study team.

Challenges Of Health In Clinical Trials

Data privacy and security

Unsecured wireless networks used in transmitting protected individual data can threaten the security and privacy of personal information.

A non-secure wireless network can help a cyber-terrorist gain access to individual health records. This happens due to unknown data storage locations associated with cloud computing.

Usability

Usability challenges occur when there is ineffectiveness, dissatisfaction, and inefficiency if an individual use a cell phone to achieve specified goals of a certain environment.

Reliability

This is the greatest challenge because of Health association with synchronizing mobile devices and with synchronizing mobile devices with non-mobile devices.

Also, from the technical assessment, the availability of network connectivity is key to determining if the app works.

Lastly, the practicality of the content programmed in the app is another element of reliability. Unreliability, in this case, is when the application has not been evaluated and approved by a regulatory organization.

So How is Technology Advancing Clinical Trials?

With an increase in the use of digital technologies in the clinical trials sector, there is still process and progress for the industry to be fully digitized.

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