There is hardly any aspect of the world today that is untouched by technology. And, in the wake of technology strengthening its presence in every industry, digital health has emerged as a buzzword in healthcare. Digital health can be defined as the combination of digital technologies and healthcare which aims at enhancing the healthcare quality and delivery. Healthcare industry is experimenting with new technologies to refine the procedures and get desired results in a short span of time. Recently, clinical trials have experienced a much desired transformation owing to digital technologies. Not only there have been innovations, but also elimination of many traditional barriers and constraints. With new digital platforms making their way into healthcare, the efficiency and productivity of clinical trials encountered a great surge, resulting in increased patient engagement, new outcomes and reduced patient withdrawal.
Let’s have a look at the most prominent digital trends that are revolutionizing clinical trials.
- Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are revolutionizing the process of clinical trials. With more and more mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets rising in popularity all over the world, the health apps are also getting heightened recognition. Technology companies are also proactively developing apps for various purposes like electronic labelling of medicines for conveying instructions using QR codes, collecting patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and for communication between patients and healthcare providers. Patients can conveniently initiate e-consultation services using their smartphones and avoid making appointments. Mobile apps can also be used by companies to help the patients with questionnaires and remind them about their scheduled visit to trial sites.
2. Social Media
Social media has become an inseparable part of people’s lives and it has also successfully integrated into the clinical trial process. Contract Research Organizations (CROs) and trials sponsors are using social media at various steps of clinical trials like setting up patient recruitment websites and educating trial participants. Social media has a very strong impact on the society, especially on the millennials. A report published by PwC suggested that 40 percent of consumers rely on social media content for their health management and 90 percent of consumers in the age group of 18-24 years trust the medical information shared by their peers.
3. Companion Diagnostic
Personalized medicine has become an important concept in healthcare in recent times. Research organizations and pharmaceutical companies are making advancements in this direction and advanced analytics is playing a key role. Using companion diagnostic devices, companies can target specific diseases on the basis of personalized genomic profiles of the patients. Subsequently, diagnostic tests can be performed to determine the risks and benefits of a particular product as well as to collect data. This ultimately helps pharmaceutical companies and various regulatory bodies share relevant data.
Wearables is another category of technology that is widely being adopted. The use of wearable devices is expected to reach 830 million in 2020. With the introduction of Fitbits and other wearables, people can easily monitor their glucose levels, blood pressure, and other risk factors and can also have easy access to information related to the symptoms, and disease patterns. In addition to benefitting the users, these wearables also save cost. They inspire individuals to take care of their health and get rid of unhealthy lifestyle that lead to chronic diseases. These also impact clinical trials significantly by monitoring and detecting medical conditions.
With the evolution of digital landscape, pharmaceutical companies have begun investing more in digital innovations to remain competitive in the market. For effective clinical trials, technology companies are developing solutions that can speed up the process, while maintaining accuracy. But, of course, the industry requires more collaboration, deeper knowledge and higher patient and investigator engagement to deploy these technologies successfully for enhanced efficiency and reduced cost.