Survey: Digital Tech Use Up in Clinical Trials, But Concerns Remain

Digital Technology

Nearly 98% of clinical research professionals plan to use digital technologies to collect patient data within the next five years, according to a study of 166 biopharma and life sciences industry researchers, executives, and technology/software professionals conducted by Validic.

Broadly speaking, the study’s findings highlight how digital technologies will become significantly more important in the next several years—especially in the realm of patient communities.

Expect to see more digital tech usage to help improve medication adherence and growth of patient communities, according to “Insights on Digital Health Technology Survey 2016: How Digital Health Devices and Data Impact Clinical Trials.”

More than 60% of survey respondents reported they’ve already used digital health technologies in clinical trials. While mobile apps and in-home clinical grade devices remain the most common examples of usage of such technologies, the survey suggests that future use is likely to focus more on wearable activity trackers and sensors.

Prepare for widespread use of digital technology in your clinical trials at the ACRP 2017 Meeting & Expo. Sessions include: Wearables and Big Data: The New Gold Standard for Clinical Trials; eConsent: Preparing for Paperless Consent; Bring Your Own Device: Is It Right for Your Clinical Research Enterprise?; and more.

View the ACRP 2017 Preliminary Program

More than two-thirds of those surveyed thought improving medication adherence was the most important outcome for drug developers, in large part because it could address patient recruitment and retention challenges. Seven in 10 of those surveyed thought digital health data could have the greatest impact in improving care for chronic disease populations (e.g., cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders).

Not surprisingly, the business case is the biggest driver. Users and potential adopters cite reducing trial costs, streamlining processes, and demonstrating real-world efficiency as the biggest carrots on the stick. More than half of all respondents said the top benefit of real-time information was that it could support early decision-making in drug development.

The survey paints a picture of guarded optimism, yet concerns remain. Accuracy of data, standardization of data, and analysis of data in a meaningful way were the top three concerns of those surveyed. Somewhat surprisingly, lack of guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was only eighth on that list.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents to the survey were personnel at contract research organizations or tech providers, 31% were in executive leadership, and 23% were in clinical operations.

Author: Michael Causey