How Digital Clinical Trials Accelerate Results and Reduce Costs

Introduction

With a lot of investment, along with time and efforts being carried out each year, it is no surprise that the healthcare industry is eventually gravitating towards technology. There are three main reasons for it-

  • Cost-cutting
  • Accurate data
  • Streamlining the entire process.

Today’s trillion-dollar healthcare industry is already on the precipice of technology – via Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Analytics, Robotics, and Wearables – that have made healthcare management more precise and measurable. The industry is already reaping the benefits via ease in maintenance and handling of patient records, patient inclusion and round-the-clock support and generally widespread awareness about health and disease saving that arduous visit to the doctor and unnecessary medical bills.

While these are the immediate, patient-centric interests served by tech-driven healthcare facilities, an additional segment where digitization plays a huge role is during the carrying out of clinical trials – that helps in building the momentum and make the entire industry efficient in terms of delivery. Gone are the days when healthcare organizations blindly invested money in beta science programs and experiments; today’s clinical trials are all about measured outcomes where budget, patient welfare, and ROI are ensured as the three supporting pillars of the healthcare revolution. Let us just say that digitization is directly responsible for encouraging new drug developments and supporting various clinical trials.

One striking example of the same is tech biggie Apple’s investment (in cooperation with Eli Lilly and Evidation Health) in a digital device that can detect the early signs of Alzheimer’s. The companies are now attempting to maximize rising smartphone usage to develop digital biomarkers that can foretell signs of Alzheimer’s and encourage early prevention and treatment of the same in people.

Why Digital Clinical Trials at All?

  • Clinical research is one of the most costly segments of drug development. Right from the initial private investment to capital investment at the expansion stage, it takes around 12 years to bring a new drug in the market.
  • Huge costs involved over such prolonged periods of research and experiment can spiral off numerous other inefficiencies in the subsequent processes of drug research and preparation.
  • At the same time, new viruses and bacteria are proving to be a daunting task for healthcare experts and new and continuing research is needed to combat potential health hazards. All of this can consume massive resources (time as well as financial investments) if done with the force of human labor alone.
  • Digitized clinical trials can provide more reliable insights for the early detection of diseases.

Exploring Opportunities – How Clinical Firms are Tackling the Gaps in the Market

To tackle the above discrepancies, clinical firms are now looking at various potential solutions so that they can maximize competitive advantages to the fullest.

According to leading research firms, the market for clinical research is only going to increase as the mounting worldwide population seems to be signaling a spurt of diseases.

Here are a few ways how healthcare software companies around the world are tapping into these radical developments:

Wearable Technology

A publicly-traded American pharmaceutical company is using digital disruption to the fullest.

According to the company, one of the key challenges in clinical research is collecting accurate patient data; the simultaneous and ever-increasing regulations on the data collection sure add to the woes. So in order to find a solution, AbbVie is now exploring the use of digital health tools such as wearables. The company has also designed a technology package called IQVIA design which is the source of massive data collection.

Wearables are essentially devices that process the data using an algorithm and track data on a real-time basis by syncing wearer’s day-to-day activity with mobile devices or laptops/computers. When integrated with healthcare, these devices help in managing and detecting health symptoms, as well as provide insurance with reduced premiums.

Needless to say, this is a win-win for all.

Scaling and Efficiently Monitoring Digital Clinical Trials

Since innovations are happening on a large scale, clinical companies are joining hands with domain expert tech firms who can map out the path.

For example, American tech giants HCL technologies and Oracle Health Sciences have recently announced collaboration plans to help the customers scale various digital trials. This has been proposed via integrating HCL’s Faster Intelligent Trials (FTT) Solution and Oracle’s Mobile Health (mHealth) Connector Cloud Service. These solutions are projected to be beneficial in a number of use cases, such as “patient engagement, collecting patient-reported outcomes, monitoring patient safety, improving medication adherence, or conducting e-visits during clinical trials to reduce patient and site burden” – explains a recent HCL announcement on their website.

From being robust patient support in the different stages of clinical trials to managing requests (for clinical trials) from interested global stakeholders, these two organizations have ready experience at hand. With this new solution, the healthcare sector is moving towards scaling up, while streamlining the process of conducting digital trials backed by controlled budgets. Along similar lines, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be gaining a big boost so as to incorporate the use of clinical research into it.

Digital Mammography

Another striking example of how clinical trials are using digitization to achieve accurate and speedier results is via the use of digital mammography for the screening of breast cancer. The statistics suggest that there are some prominent reductions in breast cancer findings. Two major North American service screening programs use modern mammography which enables the early detection of cancer.

The Prime Companies using These Tech-Driven Tools are-

Arcadia (Boston) – The machine and AI equipment of Arcadia enable the healthcare organization to create complex algorithms and identify patients so that accurate results can be inferred. A few other companies joining this list are – AiCure( New York City), Aiva Health (Los Angeles), Arterys (San Francisco), Bay LABS (San Francisco), Change Healthcare (Nashville), and Deep Lens (Ohio).

A wide array of other solutions are also being developed – and typically emphasize on these key elements: patient-centric trials, risk-based remote monitoring, the pre-enrollment prior to the site activation, online communities to plan the various clinical trials in advance intended to save time, and wireless medical portable devices which can improve the data transfer.

A Few Examples of Healthcare Organizations Already Making Waves in this Field

That the healthcare industry is increasingly becoming driven and supported by the latest technology in place is evidenced in how several start-ups have sprouted up in this narrowest of the health niche.

Some of them are –

  • Deep 6 AI– uses artificial intelligence to analyze available clinical data and finds better matches to conduct speedier, more efficient clinical trials, making life-saving treatments to patients faster.
  • Clinical trial connect– has collaborations with different communities so that they can embed their products on the website to make it easier for the patients to find. It also facilitates improved accountability of the trial process and better manages patient engagement in such trials.
  • Patient wing– An online recruitment platform which enables participants to apply online for the application process, while also educating them on the process

With strategic collaborations, new clinical capabilities, along with remote data capture and patient interactions, these strides are expected to have a positive impact on the way clinical trials are conducted, ultimately leading to timely decision-making.

Looking Inward and Outward

It cannot be denied that technology has radically altered and enhanced the manner in which healthcare organizations now operate. The digital transformation in this industry is noticeable at every step – and has been brought about by a number of factors, the most apparent among them being patients’ demands for more transparency. This has consequently opened new avenues for business profitability as well as custom-built optimized healthcare instead of the traditional one-size-fits-all approach.

While other transformative modules paving the way for successful digitization – such as – telemedicine, use of Augmented Reality (AR) in the health industry, clinical flow documentation process, and data-driven approaches are already in place, making clinical trials more participative, speedy, accurate and budgeted, is one of those many crucial steps towards ensuring transparency, sustained patient health and affordable drugs for the next generation.

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