Digital Trends Impacting Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment

Jens Stelling, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer

As early adopters of digital patient outreach, read our perspectives on 10 digital health trends that are positively impacting clinical trial patient recruitment and patient retention:

Increased awareness of clinical trials

Digital technology can connect more people to clinical trials than ever before. Digital media provide a diverse mix of channels to help communicate the notion of clinical trials as a good care option for many conditions. Digital tools streamline clinical trial patient recruitment and registration, with more than 60% of clinical trial participants currently finding clinical trials through web-based sources. This can significantly impact future studies, considering that 5% of cancer patients currently participate in clinical trials.

Wearables in clinical trials

The adoption of wearables as data collection devices in clinical trials is rapidly rising. By conservative estimates, nearly 300 devices are currently in use. As the cost of these technologies goes down, and data quality goes up, the combination of these two dynamics will fundamentally change clinical research, to benefit clinical trial patient recruitment efficiencies, improve the patient experience, and boost compliance.

Simplifying complexity

It takes a lot of specialized professionals and coordination of many moving, and often disjointed parts to successfully conduct a clinical trial. Tools such as ClinLife®  provide efficiency gains to investigator sites in clinical trial patient recruitment and study start-up, to better manage the most time-intensive parts of a clinical trial.

Patient engagement and monitoring

Simple digital tools can make a world of difference with patient engagement and self-monitoring as well as aiding home care of vulnerable patient populations. In a recent study involving patients with coronary heart disease, patient support reminders for lifestyle modifications delivered via text messaging resulted in improved cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Data currency

The connectivity of smart phones affords the opportunity for real-time data collection and reporting in clinical trials, dramatically shortening the time between data collection and data harvesting. This allows immediate visibility of any aberrant data and can contribute to a reduction in risk.

Timely communications

Again, simple digital tools can also replace outdated technology to transmit time-critical patient information. The speed of text messaging can result in significantly improved patient outcomes. Sensor technology, together with SMS texts, can improve the monitoring by alerting care providers of abnormalities.

Communication and transparency

With an abundance of available communication channels, clinical trial organizers can keep patients informed from the initial digital outreach through the end of the study. Study participants demand more information about study progress and want to understand how their contribution shapes outcomes. More sponsors recognize the benefits of sharing clinical trial results with the patients who make new medicines possible.

Reduce cost

Although still in early stages, digital health can reduce some of the costs of bringing a drug to market, beyond efficiency gains related to labor-intensive and time-intensive tasks. Notable efforts include reducing the cost of data collection with the BYOD approach and digitization of clinical trial documentation.

Enhance the patient-provider relationship

An array of consumer-friendly digital tools are shifting the patient’s role to a lead position in building knowledge and managing their own routine health, while re-positioning the role of a physician to a patient advisor. Today’s digital patients are more connected and motivated than ever.

Shorten timelines

There are numerous frequently-cited examples of how digital tools automate and streamline tasks, shorten cycle timelines, and improve efficiencies by promoting consistency and process standardization. Read some of our examples.