Virtual Clinical Trials: Understanding the Basics

May 20, 2019Blog, 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.

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