Over the past few decades, technological advancements have impacted almost every sector and activity, including clinical trial development. Digital technology has caused a significant shift in pharmaceutical research and development, contributing to improved efficiency in every stage of drug development.
Advancements in medical technology continue to shorten the time taken to go through the various phases of drug development, including recruiting and screening of study patients, study execution, and monitoring, among others. Medical research technology such as clinical trials software enhances medical data quality and process efficiency and reduces the time and money spent on clinical trials.
Clinical trial development has undergone key transformations in recent years. These changes are expected to continue happening into the future. Now, dive into the different trends and innovations affecting clinical trial development.
1. Increased Clinical Vaccine Trials
The Covid-19 pandemic, which remains one of the deadliest global health issues in recent years, has led to unprecedented growth in vaccine development and trials. Technological advancements are making it possible for vaccines to be developed and tested in shorter periods than ever before. For instance, the collaboration between vaccine research teams and logistics firms enabled the rapid development and disbursement of different Covid-19 vaccines. Unlike previous developments, it took less than twelve months to develop most Covid-19 vaccines.
2. Fully Remote Clinical Trials
Clinical trials have traditionally been carried out within established physical facilities, but digital technologies enable them in distant geographic locations. Remote trials eliminate the need for travel, especially for people that may not afford it. Virtual clinical trials continue to disrupt how research teams work, engage patients, and collect their data.
For instance, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdowns, remote teams from different parts of the world worked together to conduct clinical trials to test the efficacy of different drugs. Paxlovid, developed by Pfizer to manage the Omicron variant of Covid-19, went through three different studies in various locations to establish the effectiveness of its main ingredient, nirmatrelvir.
3. Hybrid Clinical Trials
A hybrid clinical trial combines the traditional model of conducting research in institutions with virtual trials. Hybrid clinical trials are more randomized and therefore help gather more realistic data from the different categories of patients. Hybrid clinical trials were conceptualized in 2016 by the United States Congress to provide real-world evidence. A framework to guide these programs was later developed in 2018 by the U.S Food and Drug Administration.
Hybrid clinical trials have a higher potential of speeding up drug development processes and lowering the financial costs associated with data collection and patient monitoring. They’re also considered more patient-centric, giving patients a choice between remote or physical interactions.
4. Wearable Digital Devices
Technological advancements have made it possible to capture massive amounts of patient data in multiple locations accurately. Although wearable technology was first proposed in the 1960s, it was only in 2019 that wearable medical devices started becoming popular. There are now wearable sensors using biomarkers that can effectively monitor blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and oxygen saturation. It has become easier to work with patients when investigating the effects of different drugs under preparation and to conduct post-trial monitoring.
5. More Knowledgeable Patients
A growing trend occasioned by high internet penetration and access globally is that of patients with active information-seeking habits. This has resulted in more knowledgeable patients empowered by their ability to access detailed information about different health conditions. Usually, the more knowledgeable a clinical trial patient is, the higher their level of engagement which increases the quality and amount of data captured. Patient engagement improves the relationship with research teams and enhances compliance, impacting the success rates of clinical trials.
6. Clinical Trial Data Sharing
Clinical trials produce better outcomes when research data is easily shareable and accessible by all stakeholders involved in a study. Traditionally, just as it began in the 17th century, clinical trial data was disseminated through print, so only a limited number of participants had access to it. However, digital advancements have increased the rate and amount of data sharing among patients, research institutions, and donor organizations, fueling the growth of clinical innovations.
The different types of information shared and stored in digital files continue to increase the medical knowledge pool, providing many benefits during clinical trials. Ongoing communication between patients and researchers during clinical trials further helps maintain trust, which is especially necessary during the post-trial stages when most patients tend to drop off.
7. Automated Drug Dispensing Sites
Although the adoption of robotics in clinical trials has been slow, they’re slowly being adopted by the pharmaceutical sector to aid in dispensing and storing drugs. Geographical lockdowns enforced to contain the Covid-19 pandemic increased the use of robots in the pharmaceutical industry to guarantee continued operations. It’s expected that robotics in pharmaceutical manufacturing will continue to peak in the coming years.
Robotic drug dispensing eliminates the need for human intervention during clinical trials, eliminating human error in drug administration to patients. Automated drug administration enhances patient safety and improves clinical trials.
Clinical research studies provide reliable data that adds to the body of medical knowledge, advancing health care practices. Different categories of medical research entail phases with processes that generate a massive amount of clinical data that can benefit from an innovative clinical trial management software.
The use of specialized clinical trial management software increases research efficiency by seamlessly managing all stages of the medical research lifecycle. Clinical trial software also enables centralization of various data sets and workflow management while ensuring compliance with the institution and industry regulations.
Acquiring a cloud-based clinical trial software can drastically improve the quality and consistency of your different clinical trial studies while using less time.