Technology’s Role in Global Clinical Trials—Tools You Can Use for Successful Trial Completion

Drug development and therapy improvement rely on clinical trials. Yet, enrolling enough patients and retaining them throughout the study is still a struggle for most trials. Even then, technological advancement and the rise of the internet gives clinical research organization like Veristat and other stakeholders dozens of tools to streamline their trial processes.

Global trials can leverage these tools to increase enrollment of eligible patients, improve retention, and streamline data collection. CROs like Veristat stay on top of industry technologies to help global trials to start and complete successfully. This article reveals tools you can use in recruitment, engagement and retention, and data collection for successful global trial completion.

Recruitment using technological tools for global trials

Patient recruitment is one of the most challenging aspects of any clinical trial. Over a few years, research organizations have increasingly used technological tools to supplement traditional recruitment strategies. These technological approaches are effective. For example, a 2014 clinical trial used web-based and social media to successfully recruit eligible HIV individuals for the research. This study used tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and Tumblr among others.

The trial successfully enrolled patients, primarily through Facebook. Another study compared patient recruitment using Facebook ads versus traditional strategies (flyers and newspaper ads). The investigators found that more than half of the sample was recruited through Facebook. A global trial requires worldwide participants. The best way to reach them out is through social media and some of the tools mentioned above that have worldwide users. That way, you quickly meet your initial participant goals.

Engagement and retention tools

In worldwide trials, patient retention is the next biggest struggle after recruitment. Before the internet and mobile technologies advancement, maintaining contact over months and even years of research required all-embracing staff effort that often led to lower retention rates. But with the rise of websites, social media like Facebook, and powerful mobile apps, engaging and retaining patients in a trial, is much less complicated. You can also use online registry tools like 23andMe to screen, select, randomize, and even collect clinical trial outcome data.

Patient data capturing tools

Smartphone-based apps, mobile devices, and wearable medical technology can improve patient data capturing in global trials. Patient data is integral to trials because it informs a study’s direction and final clinical results. On the other hand, wearable devices automate data monitoring, and the usage of central data hubs gathers data that would otherwise be difficult to capture. Over the years, clinical researchers have been capturing patient data using wearable devices that sync with smartphone apps. For example, a study developed a drug detector model using biological data collected by a wearable ECG (electrocardiogram) sensor as well as accelerometers. This demonstrates how your global trial can use new technologies to compile and analyze vast data.

Other technologies that enhance data capturing in clinical trials include machine learning, smart sensors, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. These technologies enable research organizations to monitor data virtually and access it across multiple locations.

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