The Evolving Landscape of Decentralised/Virtual Clinical Trials

by | Oct 7, 2022 | Information Technology

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Decentralized virtual clinical trials can unlock new opportunities for healthcare providers and researchers by providing a framework for conducting clinical trials that is more secure, cost-effective, and accessible. They came into the picture after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the globe and everyone was confined to their homes. With social interactions banned and a health risk, decentralized clinical trials saved the world.

In an age where consumers demand more transparency, decentralized virtual clinical trials stand out as one of the most promising solutions to meet these needs. Read on to learn more about these clinical trials.

The Benefits of Decentralized Clinical Trials

Instead of conducting clinical trials at a central location, the decentralization enables them to perform their trials without the fear of contaminating the sample or the virtual trial vendors getting too close to the patient. Everything is virtual hence very efficient. By decentralizing these trials, companies can conduct them more efficiently and reduce the risk of data breaches or privacy concerns. Here are the benefits of these decentralized clinical trials.

Greater Efficiency

These clinical trials are more efficient than traditional clinical trials because they conduct the trials virtually. Since the trials are conducted virtually, the people manning the processes do not need to get into physical contact with them. This means that companies can conduct the trials in different countries simultaneously, making them more cost-effective.

Reduced Risk of Data Breaches

The decentralized clinical trials can be conducted remotely and are much less susceptible to data breaches or privacy concerns. The patient reserves the full information on their trials and communicates directly with the trial conductors. Additionally, the information regarding the participants is safe and free from any alterations. All this increases the transparency and accuracy of data.

Elimination of Intermediaries

Using decentralized clinical trials eliminates the need for intermediaries or middlemen in conducting clinical trials. Companies can conduct trials without worrying about third-party entities’ involvement.

ObvioHealth delivers better data by deploying an easier digital clinical trial process that consistently achieves faster recruitment, higher compliance and fewer dropouts. 

The Challenges to Conducting a Decentralized Clinical Trial

These clinical trials use computer-based simulations to replace the real-life testing of new drugs. The process involves monitoring and tracking patient data, such that the results are recorded digitally rather than in written notes.

Unfortunately, this promising area of medical research remains underutilized due to regulatory and technological hurdles. Let’s look at a few challenges in conducting a decentralized clinical trial.

Lack of Regulation

The lack of regulation in clinical trials has been a major barrier to successfully implementing decentralized trials. This is because there are no protocols or guidelines for conducting these trials. The lack of regulations and standards makes it difficult for researchers to obtain approval to conduct clinical trials.

Physical Challenges

Clinical trials are still under development, and many challenges are involved in conducting them. One challenge that arises is the need for testing facilities that are not only modern but also have enough space for testing different drugs on different patients simultaneously.

In addition, the nature of these facilities makes it difficult for researchers to conduct studies that do not affect the rest of the facility or its occupants.

Lack of Data Management Tools

There is a lack of data management tools that researchers can use while conducting clinical trials using decentralized systems. Currently, this area remains underdeveloped.

Most research papers do not use centralized database management tools during their studies. This is rampant when they involve data collection and processing techniques such as electronic health records (EHR) systems or electronic laboratory information systems (ELIS). This makes it difficult for researchers to ensure accurate data sharing among all stakeholders involved in the trial process.

Lack of Access to Clinical Trial Data

Researchers may be unable to access clinical trial data when they conduct their studies using decentralized systems. This is because the data is stored on individual computers or devices owned by different stakeholders involved in the trial process. It makes the process difficult for researchers to gain access to this type of data when conducting their studies using decentralized systems.

Conclusion

Virtual clinical trials are an emerging field that leverages the capabilities of the medical field. It has changed how clinical trials are conducted and enhanced safety, especially in the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic that required social distancing. With these new technologies, it’s now possible to decentralize clinical trials and remove the need for a trial vendor to be in touch with a patient physically. They are an excellent way for companies to test new products and services in a controlled environment before releasing them onto a larger scale.