Technology Is Revolutionizing Clinical Trials: Here's How
Technology has had a massive impact on basically every area of life. So, it should come as no surprise that it has had a big effect on scientific research as well. One very important part of medical research that technology has been having a noticeable impact on is clinical trials.
In general, technology has managed to make researchers’ jobs easier and more streamlined, as well as saving a considerable amount of time for all parties involved. Technology has also been able to increase patient participation and help them feel more involved in the research process.
Matching patients to clinical trials
One of the biggest things that technology has been able to aid researchers with is the task of matching patients to a clinical trial. Several different tools have been created that search through a database of various clinical trials and allows potential patients to find one that is looking for people in their demographic. These tools save researchers an immense amount of time as they are able to reach out to a much wider audience than they otherwise could.
The University at Buffalo is creating a smartphone app that will allow patients to look through and evaluate different clinical trials to decide whether or not they feel like they would be a good match for the trial. Once they have found one, they are then able to enroll in it and begin taking part in the research just by pressing a button.
By making the process as streamlined as this, researchers are hoping that more people will become interested in clinical trials and look into participating in them more often.
A startup called GenoSpace is working on their own version of a clinical trial matching app as well. In this case, the app will be used by the researchers and it will be able to search through a large database containing electronic health records and alert the researcher when a match is found.
These are just a couple of the latest apps being made that will help match patients to clinical trials. A few already exist and many more are being worked on. With so many companies investing resources into these apps, this will be an exciting area of advancement to keep an eye on in the future.
Mobile technology, such as smartphones and tablets, have been popular tools in many different professions. This is no different when it comes to clinical trials as medical researchers have discovered a plethora of different uses for them.
One such use is patient monitoring. Through mobile technology, researchers are able to keep up with patient data more easily and the patients themselves are able to quickly report to researchers through an easy-to-use app.
Wearable technology, in particular, has been of great use as a source of automated patient monitoring. Things like wearable heart monitors can continually report the patient’s health status to the researchers automatically, making the process of gathering data seamless for both patient and researchers.
Some patient monitoring tools also allow the patient to access the data that is collected through a mobile or web app. This helps to increase patient satisfaction and their participation in the study as they are able to see the results of the trial as it goes along.
What the future may hold
The big thing about technology is that it is constantly progressing, and always at a very quick pace. This means that even with all that technology has changed for clinical trials as it is, there are many more advancements still to come.
One such advancement that will be worth keeping an eye on is virtual sites. Someday, it may be commonplace to conduct clinical trials completely remotely without requiring patients to be physically present. This is possible through the use of web and mobile apps to report feedback as well as wearable devices to monitor patients and automated medication systems to administer the required dose of medication when it is required.
Pfizer was the one to pioneer such a virtual clinical trial back in 2012. While the patient response they received didn’t quite meet expectations, it was proof positive that such a thing is possible. A lot of advancements have been made since then, and more virtual trials have been conducted.
Most recently, Novartis and Science 37 have teamed up to conduct many more virtual trials over the next three years. They hope that through virtual trials they will be able to make clinical trials more accessible and help include demographics that normally wouldn’t participate.
It is possible that, someday, all clinical trials will be conducted virtually with most of the process being automated. If that’s the case, then clinical trials will most likely see a large rise in people wishing to participate in them as they will be able to do so from the comfort of their own home. Having more people enrolling in clinical trials will also make each study more productive as less time will be spent on searching for patients, and it will also increase the variety of demographics that will take part.