Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ClinTech Month: The implementation, benefits & challenges of technology in clinical trials

ClinTech Month

Technology is revolutionising clinical trials, impacting every aspect of research, but whilst wide-ranging challenges remain, the speed of implementation is slower than many had hoped. All this month we are focusing on these issues, bringing you exclusive video interviews, reports, case studies and views as part of ClinTech Month.

We’ll be exploring the ways in which technology is having a profound impact, the benefits it is bringing and the obstacles that need to be cleared.

Types of tech

The numbers around mHealth and wearables are pretty staggering - estimates suggest that by 2020 there will be 25 billion connected devices, 4 million patients using remote monitoring technologies and the Internet of Medical Things industry worth $117 million. These are the building blocks of the technology revolution in clinical trials.

With a vast amount of new data being created, the cloud and Big Data analytics are becoming increasingly important, whilst Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are getting more complex, faster and smoother. Additionally, online social networks are being used for recruitment and to connect patients to one another.
The benefits

The first aspect to look at is the way in which technology is improving the clinical trial experience for patients. Remote monitoring means less travel for patients and automated tracking helps simplify trials for the patients whilst also making them less time consuming. Real-time insights provide them with metrics about their health previously unseen, whilst they also have the potential to improve patient safety.

All this is good news for everyone involved in running trials; if the patient is satisfied, recruitment and retention levels will both naturally increase. The quality of research data should also improve as studies have shown use of mHealth can improve patient compliance and EMRs reduce the risk of human data-entry error.

Technology can also offer a flexibility previously never seen in clinical trials, allowing for adaptive trial design and shorter time-frames.

The Challenges

Starting at the most basic level, the investment needed in new technological systems and hardware can be prohibitive. On top of that, training of staff and patients on any new technology is vital for the success of a tech-centered trial.

There are concerns over the quality and accuracy of the data collected through mHealth and wearables, whilst the sheer amount of data can be overwhelming. Even once these issues have been overcome, patient data privacy must be maintained.

All these challenges must also continually be viewed with the regulators in mind.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter at @ClinTrials365 and sign-up to the weekly newsletter (on the right of this page) to stay up-to-date with all the ClinTech posts over the coming month.

The Next Wave of Clinical Innovation is one of four streams at T3: Trials, Tech and Transformation on May 11-12 in Orlando, Florida. Register before 3/17 and save up to $400 off standard rates, PLUS use the exclusive code T3BLOG17 to save an additional $200. Find out more here.

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