Human Factor Critical to Effective Use of Technology in Clinical Trials

“The huge, expedited need for virtual capabilities driven by COVID-19 has translated into a new willingness to try new technologies among typically averse” clinical trial practitioners, says Elisa Cascade, executive vice president and product line executive for electronic clinical outcome assessments at ERT.

While she’s excited about what this new energy can bring to trial in terms of greater efficiency, better patient protection, and higher overall quality, Cascade and others worry the “human factor” could derail or slow this progress if industry stakeholders don’t harness this new spirit and work together more effectively.

For starters, Cascade and other trial thought leaders are calling for more training for the clinical trial staff who will be working with these new technologies on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s not as easy as setting up a few training sessions and calling it a day.

One challenge, Cascade says, is that there are “so many different technologies with so many different providers, it sets up a challenge for sites” because they have to ensure different technologies can “talk to” each other. She calls on technology companies to make their products’ features intuitive and easy to master, just like the iPhone and wearables that can track blood pressure. “Technology companies have to work together with users to address the burden of use,” she says.

“We have to find ways to make technology interoperable,” Cascade also stresses. It’s not going to happen overnight, she allows. “It will be an evolution,” but it won’t happen at all if we don’t address the issue head-on right now, she adds.

Cascade will be joined by Mohammed Ali, global head for Digital Development Global Clinical Operations at Boehringer Ingelheim, and Christine Senn, PhD, CCRC, CPI, ACRP-CP, FACRP, CSM, chief operations officer for IACT Health, for a session of the ACRP 2021 virtual conference’s May track, which is designed to bring together various aspects of the clinical trial ecosystem and present effective ways for stakeholders to address current challenges and work together better in the future.

Author: Michael Causey