Virtual Clinical Trials
Industry leaders like Clinical Ink have been using the virtual or decentralized clinical trial format for some time now and have found that it yields significant results. While the concept of a virtual clinical trial is still something new, relatively speaking, the medical industry, in general, has been utilizing it and seeing the benefits for the last few years; it’s something that’s here to stay. In this article, we’ll take a look at how virtual clinical trials are changing the landscape of modern medical care for medical professionals and patients. We’ll explain the concept of a virtual clinical trial and take a look at all the benefits it has to offer those conducting it and those participating in it. Let’s begin.
What Is A Virtual Clinical Trial?
A virtual clinical trial (also known as a decentralized clinical trial for its lack of medical home base for patients) is a trial run digitally and from a distance. This clinical trial format has the potential to significantly alter and better this aspect of the medical industry. It brings medical solutions to the people who need them instead of asking these already ailing (in most cases) individuals to leave the comfort of their homes to participate in a process that might yield life-saving results.
The virtual digital trial is accommodating to patients instead of being accommodating only to the physicians. Many patients and medical practitioners alike agree that the aspect of patient comfort has been sadly lacking in the global medical community for years, and digital clinical trials are one part of a solution to that issue. In addition, patients are able to have their treatment or medicine at home and be monitored from afar via various pieces of technology.
How Are Virtual Clinical Trials Changing Modern Medicine?
Lower Patient Dropout Rate
With the process being made more patient-centric, the dropout rate for patients is significantly lower than with regular clinical trials. The patient signup rate is also far higher. Since patients don’t need to spend time and money interrupting their lives and often travel very long distances to get to treatment centers, the process is far more convenient for them in this format.
More Real-World Data Available
The data received from virtual clinical trials is usually obtained from a reasonably controlled environment. In virtual trials, the patients go about their lives as they usually would, yielding results that are far more in line with what patient experiences really are. This data is used to
Improve the treatment development process and refine things like eligibility criteria, patient access to trials, and the overall design of the trial itself.
Costs and Delays Reduced
Clinical trials cost a lot of money, and any delays in the process can rack up extra costs that could potentially break a trial. The lower patient dropout rates in virtual clinical trials minimize expenses, and the need for a smaller base of operations minimizes costs. In addition, patients always “show up” when data is needed, as the information is taken directly from devices on their person and in their homes, minimizing delays and costs.
Increased Use Of Biomarkers in Research
A very important discovery amongst the real-world data gathered by virtual clinical trials has been endpoints or biomarkers. These are defined as “objective, quantifiable, physiological and behavioral measures collected by sensors embedded in portable, wearable, implantable or digestible devices.” This data is collected from health management devices like the ones we’ve mentioned, or, say, a smartwatch that helps track the patterns and markers that prejudice things like epileptic seizures or heart issues.
Community Physician Engagement
One area currently still being navigated and explored is the involvement of front-line community physicians. It has been noted that the participation of community doctors that patients already know and trust can bring in underrepresented demographics such as rural communities or communities of color. In addition, patients can participate in trials under the care of doctors near their homes or doctors that they already visit, should they need to meet with a physician during the trial. This is another example of making medical processes more patient-centric and increasing the public’s desire to participate in clinical trials, thus yielding better results with a broader reach. This also minimizes costs as the trial is making use of existing infrastructure rather than seeking to build new infrastructure for a temporary trial.
Virtual clinical trials are an improvement on the traditional model in so many ways. We cannot wait to see the far-reaching impacts of this exciting new model.