The Future of Clinical Trial Workflows

What We Know So Far

It is common that the procedures executed in a clinical trial majorly lack the convenience that is often necessary for the procedure to be carried out successfully. For many, it is a confusing idea given that for these sites to function, they depend on sponsors who can ensure the procedures are performed properly. Having the tools provided to make matters easier and more convenient means data can be of higher quality, and errors are reduced. 

Fortunately, companies such as Clinical Ink have designed a new system that makes working in the most complex of trials more efficient. The newly designed Lunexis platform, for example, this technology is designed so that sponsors, site, and patients have input. This involvement means that other obstacles can be avoided. 

Read on to explore how the future of clinical trial workflows will be developed in years to come, and the predictions around existing and future technologies.  

What Can Change?

One area that can help increase the quality of clinical trial workflows is the use of immersive technologies. They are already useful in helping to distract from pain with direct therapeutic capabilities. For example, applied VR uses the virtual reality platform for “chronic pain as well as acute pain and anxiety experiences for patients.”

From this, there is room for the progression of XR technologies to take on more of a role in trials. The inclusion of XR technology can also facilitate daily operations and lean towards achieving better and more accurate results overall. The results for VR therapy speak for themselves in that a 2017 Cedars-Sinai study showed that VR therapy decreased pain scores in hospitalized patients by 24%. This will only increase in the coming advancements. 

XR technology follows that of Clinical Ink’s latest technology: it allows the patient to become more involved. This kind of technology can help explain the condition, the impact on the human body, teach them about the treatment for their conditions and describe any upcoming procedures they might have.

Why XR technology is a hopeful advancement is because the cost to run it is decreasing and is used more on a daily basis through work programs and gaming. 

As a patient, you want to be aware of and monitor your health-related data. This was achievable for a lot of people in 2019 with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4. This device allowed users to be able to monitor their heart rates and look for irregular rhythms. 

In the coming years, the use of healthcare electronic health records (EHR) has improved so that they can be accessed directly by patients. In doing so, users will have access to their personal records whenever they like. In return, this feels like their health information is truly theirs. Once this ownership is established, some patients might be more willing to share their data.

Ownership of data and feeling a sense of security and privacy is a relevant topic in all kinds of technology today. In the healthcare environment, this is even more important. Research suggests that this can be overcome and make people feel more comfortable by allowing the distribution of clinical trials data across all in a system. To improve data security, the use of a decentralized data repository will improve this as it will ensure appropriate ownership and privacy. By doing so, it allows a solid foundation for the regulation of online validation of clinical trials and their outcomes. 

As well as data, helping with the workflow could be in the introduction and maintenance of stay-at-home trials. Soon, patients having to consistently visit their health clinic will be a thing of the past. How this can be achieved is through device connectivity as well as home delivery advances and the enhancement of virtual communication. One example where this concept thrives is the AOBiome Trial. This was a Phase 2b acne study that was conducted and screened for 372 patients over the course of 12 weeks that required no in-person visits. Compared to traditional trials, this one had the inclusivity present with an increase in non-white patients. 

In order for this to work, patient-centered connecting devices are crucial. Connected devices can be anything from XR, virtual assistants, bots, or wearable technology. Through the use of these products, patients’ results and progress can be attained accurately for these virtual appointments. This virtual communication adopted has seen success in other parts of the world. For example: in the United Kingdom, the NHS offers the doctor-at-hand service.

One downside of having these kinds of interactions means that there is a risk of depersonalization. Some patients may not be comfortable with having everything online, and miss the care, support, and trust that they can receive when visiting the doctor’s office. 

Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

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