The COVID-19 pandemic catalysed the adoption of decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) even though they have been in use for decades. DCTs offer the advantage of enabling patients to take part in clinical studies from the convenience of their homes, eliminating the need for them to travel to clinical sites. This not only reduces the burden on patients but also leads to higher participation rates. Against this backdrop, out of the virtual components used in clinical trials, mobile healthcare is the most commonly used component, with 47 per cent of DCTs using this element, reveals GlobalData.
GlobalData’s latest report “Thematic Intelligence: Digital Transformation and Emerging Technologies in the Healthcare Industry,” reveals that web-based technology is the second most commonly used virtual component, with 23 per cent of DCTs using it for activities such as electronic data collection (eCOA, eConsent, eDiary, ePRO, and questionnaire). Mobile healthcare consists of activities such as remote patient monitoring, remote drug delivery, telemedicine, and home nursing.
Shiva Narayana, Associate Project Manager, Pharma at GlobalData, comments, “As technologies continue to improve, it has become easier to collect, transfer, and store data electronically. After the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a drastic increase in patients becoming more comfortable with using gadgets. As people were forced to adapt to social distancing measures and lockdowns, many became more comfortable with using technologies for various purposes, including healthcare.”
Progress in network technologies, connected gadgets, medical wearables, sensors, data analytics algorithms, and software is reshaping the healthcare and clinical trial environments. These breakthroughs are facilitating the more effective gathering of data and the provision of advanced healthcare through a variety of means.
With more patients using technologies such as wearable devices, smartphone apps, or other remote monitoring tools to collect and transmit data such as vital signs, medication adherence, and symptoms, clinicians have an opportunity to access real-world data and gain timely insights.
Shiva Narayana concludes, “By introducing virtual components, the study sponsors or clinical research organisations (CROs) can drive more cost-effective and efficient clinical trials. With fewer geographical constraints and increased patient engagement, decentralised trials can potentially be completed more quickly. However, there are also challenges and considerations in implementing decentralisation in clinical trials, such as ensuring data privacy and security, addressing the digital divide, and maintaining the integrity of the study.”