Clinical trial technology is the backbone of clinical trials. From electronic data to analytical software, clinical trial technology has evolved considerably. And while they will continue to do so, here is what we have achieved in 2021 so far.
Following the COVID-19 complications, nearly 100% of biopharma executives expect clinical trials to go remote. About 55% of ongoing trials have already been moved to the patients’ place and they are being remotely monitored via email, fax, or online portals.
For instance, a mobile app has been developed for people who are participating in clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease to monitor them in their respective homes.
Remote or decentralized trials ensure every patient’s safety amid the pandemic and eliminate the need for them to visit the clinics multiple times. And the call was made to maintain social distancing while ensuring advancements in the medical field.
The 21st century’s emphasis on science, as opposed to just treatment, has made precision treatments a reality. It is now possible to identify each patient’s genetics and the genome of cancer. This enables researchers to develop drugs specifically for cancer cells or for particular patients’ genetic makeup.
Precision or personalized medicine, a cutting-edge evolution in clinical trials, makes use of data analysis to better target drugs and develop fewer yet more effective cures. It is based on the idea that information from the genome and microbiome can be used to predict an individual’s clinical outcome based on their unique risk factors. It aims to treat an individual with a disease, rather than a group of people who share a diagnosis.
Like any transformative technology, technologies supporting precision medicine present a series of challenges for researchers, such as environmental and lifestyle barriers. But the fact remains that everyone will be able to experience individual health outcomes due to this new era of research.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Electronic Health Records (EHR) are a system that records a patient’s condition in a digitized way. This paperless technology has emerged as one of the most important and innovative methods to manage healthcare.
The objective of EHR is to provide access to patient information in the quickest time possible. It helps effectively manage patient details, monitor medical history, and generate quality reports based on the available data. And this information can be stored and shared through systems like PointClickCare and be accessed anywhere anytime by authorized professionals.
That’s why countless hospitals, pharma companies, and medical practitioners are migrating their data to electronic health records as they make it easier for doctors to track and manage their patients’ health.
Wearable technology has been a hot topic in the health technology industry for all of the last decade, but we are only now seeing a lot of new, truly useful product developments in this space. Due to these recent developments, the sales of wearable technologies rocketed from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018.
Anything from fitness trackers to smartwatches can be considered wearable devices. And they are much more than just tools that deliver health notifications to their users. These devices can effectively take control of the entire medical data maintenance process of the wearer, paving way for a new age of precision diagnostics and analytics.
In essence, wearable technology can help improve safety for paramedics as well as help doctors and patients efficiently manage their health. So, it is no surprise that more than 80% of consumers today are willing to adopt wearable technology in their fitness.
In 2021, clinical trials are expected to continue demanding wearable solutions, especially in conjunction with other digital health technologies because they are highly reliable for getting on-the-spot analytics.
Forrester found that about 74% of firms want to be data-driven but only 29% are good at connecting analytics to action.
Clinical trials heavily depend on bridging the communication gap between patients, doctors, researchers, and technologies as it can help improve the quality of the research.
According to Su Smith, Director at Origins Insights, “By understanding the authentic patient experience early in your clinical development plan, you [researchers] will more effectively be able to demonstrate the impact your drug can have on the lives of real patients.”
The key is to be clear in your briefs and ensure that all the participants are on the same page as you. Clinical researchers are improving the patient experience by reducing jargon in their communication and employing the simplest explanation of the procedure.
Researchers have also become extremely specific with their instructions and are warming up to the idea of informing the participants about their exact expectations from the trials – enhancing the patient experience even further.
The efficiency of COVID vaccines
With a global pandemic waging a war on us, the demand for more and effective vaccines to tackle the healthcare emergency is at an all-time high. According to WHO, there are about 287 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 as of June 2021. Of which, 103 are in the clinical phase while 184 are still stuck in the pre-clinical phase.
Although advancements are happening every day, researchers are still worried about the can of worms that each mutation of the coronavirus is unpacking for us. The biggest challenge in developing the vaccines is the fact that the scientists are unable to anticipate how the virus will affect us next year and the year after that and so on until we find a permanent solution.
From Oxford researchers developing a blood test predictor to Johnson and Johnson effectively creating a single-dose vaccine, the efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccines will only get better over time.
Clinical trial technology has come a long way. With an increasing number of R&D initiatives taking place across the globe every year, it will only be more interesting to see where humankind will go from here.