News & Updates

Virtual Clinical Trials: Understanding the Basics

Blog, Solutions

Bringing the Study to the Patient

One of the biggest challenges that contract research organizations (CROs) face is the recruitment and enrollment of patients. It is estimated that nearly 80 percent of clinical trials fail to even meet the initial patient targets required by studies. Additionally, research shows that a 30 percent dropout rate exists for clinical trial participants, and one in every five trials ends prematurely due to an insufficient number of trial participants. One thing is clear: the system for supporting clinical trial patients needs to improve.

Many CROs have started to adopt virtual clinical trials as a way to solve the problems outlined above. So, rather than centering a study around a physical clinical research facility, virtual clinical research facilities are established that effectively bring the clinical studies directly to the patients. This approach minimizes or, in some cases, eliminates the need for patients to regularly travel to a physical clinical site, while also simplifying the collection of patient data. That slight modification in delivery model also opens the prospective market for patient recruitment up significantly – no longer are CROs restricted to recruiting within a proximity to a physical clinical site.

One in five clinical trials ends prematurely due to an insufficient number of trial participants

Under this model, and with the use of wireless technologies, patients receive a communication device (like a cellular phone or tablet) with the appropriate ePRO or eCOA software that is used to log study data, as well as any connected peripheral devices that might be relevant to the study (i.e. connected weight scale, blood glucose meter, pulse oximeter, etc…). These pre-configured technologies would be delivered directly to the patient, along with the study-related treatments.

The routing of real-time data is managed by the CRO, and its corresponding technology partners. Again, in many cases, the patient is able to perform to many of the requirements of the study from the comfort of his/her home. The obvious benefits of this model are improved patient recruitment and retention. As a secondary benefit, data quality has the potential to improve as study parameters become more patient-centric (i.e. increased frequency of data capture).

Virtual Clinical Trials: the non-exclusive future of clinical trials?

While virtual clinical trials will provide access to more data and uncover better intelligence for the development of pharmaceuticals, there will continue to be a need for the traditional model. However, in either case, wireless technologies are providing the hub to gather and access this valuable data. Integron has a long history of supporting the technology deployments of many leading CROs around the world.

Learn More

Contact Integron to learn more about virtual clinical trials


Are you prepared for the 2G/3G sunsets? What to know about their replacements

Blog, Solutions

"Part 1 of 2"

It’s a well-documented phenomenon: legacy cellular networks are put to rest to make way for network technologies that make more efficient use of spectrum. Spectrum is a limited resource that comes at a steep price – often commanding billions of dollars for the right to use certain frequencies. Rather than continually purchasing more of a limited resource, cellular carriers around the world have to make difficult decisions on what to do with the use of their existing spectral holdings. In many cases, this ends up being a decision to move from legacy network technologies, like 2G and 3G, and into more spectrally efficient technologies like LTE.

This evolution into newer technologies can pose quite a headache, especially for those that have built IoT solutions and strategies around some of these “legacy networks”. IoT has brought a new dimension of complexity to this issue. Unlike the consumer handset market, it’s obviously unrealistic to ask your deployed devices to get up and walk into the nearest carrier shop and swap out a radio module. Asking a team of technicians is of course an option, but it is an option that can be quite costly. And in the business of IoT, margins can already be quite slender to begin with.

Spectrum is a limited resource that comes at a steep price – often commanding billions of dollars for the right to use certain frequencies.

So, for those with existing 2G and 3G IoT deployments, there are some tough decisions to be made. The bright side of this situation is that there are plenty of options moving forward.

First though, what to do with those sunsetting devices?

A great first step would be to talk to an IoT managed services provider that understands what it will take to replace any affected deployed devices. Managed services providers have the expertise to bring a wide variety of perspectives and vendors to the table and make complicated issues relatively simple. In some cases, it may make the most sense to swap wireless modules, and in others, it might make sense to design and deploy an entirely new solution.

The next step is understanding the network options that are available. With the rapid growth of IoT solutions, cellular carriers have worked closely with standards bodies like 3GPP to develop protocols that are suitable to the variety of use cases of IoT solutions. No longer is there a one-size-fits-all mentality to cellular connectivity for IoT. We will walk you through some of those options.

LTE-M (Machine-Type Communications)

LTE-M (M is abbreviated from “Machine-Type Communications”) is part of the 3GPP Release 13 that reduces complexity associated power consumption. This network technology is deployed as a software addition to existing LTE network infrastructure. Part of that software update allows for a “Power Savings Mode” that uniquely allows connections to remain idle without disconnecting from the network. It also sacrifices data speeds in favor of power saving abilities. The network continues to be deployed in various countries around the world. Within the USA, Verizon and AT&T have invested in the deployment of this network deployment.

NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT)

Narrow-Band IoT, also defined within release 13, uses an ultra-narrow band 180 kHz channel of LTE. Unlike LTE-M, NB-IoT is a larger capital investment, requiring additional hardware to be installed at the tower level. Support for NB-IoT has grown significantly in the last year as the technical promise is significant. Battery life is expected to be 10+ years for many applications, and signal propagation figures to extend much wider than other wireless technologies – delivering broader coverage. NB-IoT does not support voice and data transmission speeds are estimated in the 150kbps range. Currently, this technology appears to be the most broadly invested-in low power, wide area network globally.

LTE Cat-1 (Category 1)

LTE categories are essentially segmented based upon peak speeds. Categories 4 and up can be thought of as high speed. Category 1 (Cat-1) defines the user equipment required for operation within that standard. Cat-1 device are capable of communicating over regular LTE networks, however, performance is throttled back to deliver benefits in other areas like power consumption and cost. Cat-1 devices are a great option for those looking for a few months of battery life and a lower cost device/module. This network, as previously stated is deployed already in most parts of the developed world.

Learn More

Contact Integron to learn more about what you can do to stay ahead of network evolutions.


2018: The Year It All Came Together For Connected Healthcare

Blog, Solutions

"The Turning Point"

451 Research predicts that 2018 will be remembered as the year when everything came together for connected healthcare.

Although remote monitoring and telemedicine have been used to augment healthcare for years, a coalescence of technological improvements, increased patient awareness, clinical provider and payer business model changes, and regulator support have set the stage for rapidly increased usage of the two to forge a connected healthcare, across a range of applications, to begin in 2019. Read More

How Mobile Devices and EDC Are Changing the Financial Landscape of Clinical Trials

Blog, Solutions

Integrated Technology Solutions for Clinical Trials

It is estimated that the average cost per clinical trial participant is about $40,000. Historically, the cost of developing drugs has been significantly impacted by the associated costs of administering clinical trials. With drug development costs ranging on average between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion (Collier, 2009), there is clearly a lot at stake. Mobile devices are quickly paying dividends for leading drug makers across the globe.

Reduction in Time

A recent study completed by the US Department of Health and Human Services identified that by making use of mobile technologies in clinical trials, that sponsors reduce time in phases 1-4 by 17.6%, on average. This reduction in time equates to a significant savings in clinical trial administration cost. (See Chart) Other studies have suggested that use of EDC and mobile devices have yielded a 30 percent decline in study duration (Neuer, Warnock, & Slezinger, 2010).

Drug development costs range between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion

Collier 2009

Improved Data Flow

Additional to the decreased time and resource demands, empowering clinical trial participants with real-time tools to measure and record information reduces errors in data collection. Historically, clinical trials, especially those involving multiple countries and languages, have faced unique challenges. As data from disparate sources is received, the need to manually process and translate requires trained staff. Electronic Data Capture (EDC) tools streamline this process and allow data to freely flow into centralized databases where it can be powerfully analyzed. This synchrony in data collection is invaluable to the overall cost, when considering that the cost of each clinical trial participant has a cost of approximately $40,000.

Companies like Integron have partnered with technology leaders in EDC, ePRO, eCOA to make these financial benefits a reality for leading pharmaceutical companies around the world.

How Do E/M Documentation Changes Affect Connected Healthcare?


"Patients Over Paperwork"

The “Patients Over Paperwork” has picked up a lot of momentum over the last few months. A drive to reduce the administrative side of healthcare, in favor of better patient outcomes, has been recently aimed towards simplifying billing codes. Sure, anytime simplification is mentioned, one can be certain that anything but simplicity is taking place behind the scenes. And while groups like the American Medical Association have lauded this effort, it is being met simultaneously with resistance by many care providers. Read More

When IoT Gets Explosive


Jake's Fireworks Managed IoT Solution

When it comes to the 4th of July, the only thing that is more synonymous than freedom is fireworks. That’s good news for Jake’s Fireworks who has been providing celebratory Americans with all their firework needs for over 75 years. What started as a business in the back of a house has grown into retails stores and pop-up shops all over the country, and Integron has been able to assist in that growth. Integron’s managed services were uniquely positioned to assist Jake’s Fireworks as they worked to streamline their point of sale process, which provides Jakes with better insight into their business and a quality experience for their customers. Read More