Friday, October 7, 2016

Deciphering a Deluge of Data: Patient Support


By, April Schultz, Content Marketing Writer, Forte Research Systems 

The shear amount of data generated by each person is truly mind-blowing. Be it online shopping, locating the nearest coffee shop, or tracking what you ate for lunch, your devices have become inseparable parts of your daily life. The actions you perform when using your phone or laptop become tiny droplets in the enormous ocean of consumer data produced on a daily basis. 

Albeit a bit unsettling, it’s hard to ignore the immense potential of this data pool, if only it could be deciphered. During day two of Partnerships in Clinical Trials US, data-deciphering became a theme throughout the course of many presentations. Several presenters discussed the potential to target patterns in the ‘deluge of data’ for use in clinical research, including finding novel therapies for infectious diseases, aiding in the search for an Alzheimer’s cure, and creating predictive models of clinical research. All of these ideas are incredible and could lead to greater efficiencies in clinical trial conduct. However, one idea stood out to me as a concept so universally applicable: using data to enhance the patient experience.
Accommodating expectations

A panel discussion comprised of senior executives outside of the clinical research industry revealed key potential for the use of data to improve patient participation. The panel cited the ability for businesses to review data on a macro level. This means businesses are able to evaluate trends in how patients expect to be treated and thus better understand how their companies can adjust practices to accommodate these expectations. This, in turn, provides a more catered approach to customer support and ultimately leads to a better experience.

Within the clinical research industry, data can be used to adjust old models to meet changing patient expectations. Just as they do of Netflix and Uber, patients now expect immediacy, personalized support and transparency from healthcare providers and clinical researchers. To serve these expectations will require a shift in thought and practice within the clinical research industry.

Passive data 

One such shift has already taken hold in multiple clinical trials: mobile health. During his presentation on global mobile health enabled clinical trials, Joe Dustin of Medidata Solutions discussed the potential for consumer devices to make clinical trials more accessible and positive for participants. He noted, “The number one partner in mobile health studies is the patient.”

Dustin added that the basis of most successful mobile health trials is asking ‘what does the patient need to participate in a clinical trial?’ and ‘how can we make trial participation easier?’ He went on to discuss how mobile health devices allow researchers to collect data in a passive manner, requiring the participant to do less through the course of a study. Dustin explained that enhancing this experience for patients through the use of mobile health improved patient recruitment efforts. One specific mobile health trial he mentioned managed to enroll 400 patients in one month, without one in-person visit.

The sessions during day two of Partnerships in Clinical Trials revealed the power of data to enhance clinical research industry practices. Accessing the enormous pool of data to target patterns and trends will ultimately become part of the clinical trial process. Analyzing the data in this way can streamline operations and allow clinical researchers to assess their practices in targeted manner. The positive impact on patients generated from these actions will ultimately improve clinical trial recruitment, participant compliance, and potentially lead to referrals and repeat trial participants for future studies.

April Schultz is the Content Marketing Writer at Forte Research Systems, a developer of clinical research software. She manages Forte’s content calendar, oversees content posted to the Forte Clinical Research Blog and works with presenters to host Forte’s monthly educational webinar series.

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