Maintaining the Human Touch in Clinical Research

Clinical Researcher—March 2019 (Volume 33, Issue 3)


Jim Kremidas

New technologies are impacting the clinical trial landscape in ways almost unimaginable 20 years ago. Whether it’s widespread use of wearable devices, remote monitoring, artificial intelligence, or the promise of virtual trials, we’re clearly on the verge of revolutionary change where the very role of the clinical trial workforce is being called into question.

Some of the recent headlines I’ve seen seem to hint that technologies will gradually supplant most of the human beings actually conducting the trials. Frankly, I think that’s all wrong. Make no mistake, technology is going to change the way we conduct some aspects of trials. For example, it’s already making it easier to identify patients in smaller, disparate disease populations and enabling trials that might not have been feasible just a few years earlier.

However, technology won’t help us achieve lofty goals if we’re not all working in unison. Clinical trial practitioners have been somewhat technology averse in days past. There are some obvious reasons, including the fact that ours is a heavily regulated industry engaged in activities that can literally be matters of life and death.

Bridging the Gap

We all know that ignorance and misunderstanding can breed fear and confusion. At ACRP, we’re working to bridge the gap between tech innovators and clinical trial practitioners by bringing them together in settings where they can help each other overcome trial management barriers hindering better job performance.

Next month at ACRP 2019 in Nashville, for example, among other tracks we’re offering a Technology Track of educational sessions, beyond which we’ll feature something new to our annual meeting, the techXpo. Through techXpo, leading industry suppliers will address many of the technology challenges facing clinical research and spotlight innovative solutions from their firms. These suppliers will share customer case studies and product demos to help you and your team leverage technology to improve clinical trial operations. During these give-and-take sessions, we hope attendees will have the chance to learn about new tools, while providers will get a better understanding of what users most want and need.

Technology is here to serve the workforce and ultimately patients. Let’s work together to make it as valuable a tool as possible!

Jim Kremidas ( is Executive Director of ACRP.