Technology Aids Patient-Centered Clinical Trials

Technology plays a massive role in everyone’s life, and will continue to as it advances at light speed. It is only a matter of years before our cars drive themselves while we sit in the driver seat enjoying the scenery we typically miss. I personally find one thing baffling in this new technological world we live in – we have been slow to adapt technology to patient-centered care and health research, specifically clinical trials.

Healthcare is reliant on clinical trials to improve drug development and efficacy, while also providing better personalized drugs, devices, and therapies. Conversely, patient health information is used to test interventions. This cyclical relationship allows for innovation in one area to benefit the other. Health organizations are beginning to implement technology thanks to meaningful use, but are we really leveraging these new technologies to their fullest abilities when it comes to capturing patient data? Could technology resolve some shortfalls occurring within clinical trials?

The State of Clinical Trials

The United States has devoted numerous amounts of effort, policy, and money toward advancing clinical research. These efforts have resulted in cutting edge medical devices, surgical treatments, and blockbuster drugs. However, the approval process for interventions can take up to 10 years, as well as substantial financial investments (roughly $1.3 billion, in fact).

The approval process for interventions can take up to 10 years and $1.3 billion. {Click to Tweet}

Even with all the money available to conduct these trials, shortfalls remain, such as patient recruitment and retention which is becoming harder and harder each year. Many believe the reason for this is because trials are not patient-centered, and fail to treat patients as partners as opposed to research subjects. Without a large enough pool of potential research partners, gathering enough scientifically relevant data becomes an issue, and some treatments never make it out of the trial stage.

Improve Enrollment, Retention, & Data

58% of American adults own and use a smartphone and this number continues to increase. Leveraging this widespread use of smartphones for data collection is a great way to make participating in a study easier and less of a time commitment for patients. It would also benefit researchers in their efforts to recruit, retain, and gather more data, making clinical trials more effective. There currently exists technologies that capture data and sync automatically with a mobile app, such as smart scales and blood pressure cuffs. Smartphones can be used in a similar manner, collecting simple information on a daily basis, leaving in-person visits for procedures, blood work, and adverse events. Attrition rates are likely to decrease as it requires less effort compared to the current methods of data collection. In fact, MDS Pharma Services reports a 50-60% response rate when utilizing text messaging capabilities in trials as opposed to approximately a 5% response rate on paper. Imagine the rich data set researchers would have at their fingertips.

“MDS Pharma Services reports a 50-60% response rate when utilizing text messaging capabilities in trials.”


Many EDC vendors and consultants are embracing technology with their approaches to collecting and utilizing data. Looking at costs and time associated with clinical trials, a complete shift across the industry is right around the corner. The industry has the ability to redefine the development process by figuring out how to incorporate daily technology, resulting in patient-centered trials, faster to market approaches, and significant costs savings. Here is to better health, better medicine, and hopefully a cancer free world!

 Learn more about the shift within modern day clinical trials to be more patient centered by reading The Future of Clinical Trials!

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