Bringing Results to Patients: A Way Forward Using Collaboration, Integration, and Datasharing

Clinical Researcher—August 2019 (Volume 33, Issue 7)


Al O. Pacino


To benefit the clinical research experience, global connectedness across technological capabilities and industry-focused leaders will be key to generating clinical discovery.

When thinking about the direction of technological innovation in the modern clinical research enterprise, we are faced with tracking the inputs of every stakeholder imaginable. Companies are sprouting up all over the globe to fulfill the very specific requirements of what are often narrow segments of the current medical research and development market. Examples include the providers of technology and services for clinical trial management systems (CTMS), trial master files, patient recruitment, contract research organizations, and more.

While many of these companies and organizations are offering unique opportunities for the future of clinical research, some are asking along the way, “How can we ensure these innovations are able to bring results to patients?” We must think about modernizing the culture and incentivizing the establishment of goods and services that will truly make life better for those who need them most.

From the viewpoint of an investigative site, the way to ensure that this question is adequately answered is to first consider whether professionals and patients will be directly impacted by the innovation in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Second, will there be measurable benefits brought to patients, staff, and administrators?

The View from All Sides

Technologies are supposed to assist investigative sites for the purposes of ensuring clinical research readiness and economic and professional prosperity. A site strategy should include the implementation of mechanisms which will enhance the educational opportunities, market visibility, and quality of life for patients as well as clinical practitioners.

In order to positively impact the future of clinical research, entrepreneurs should approach the system as a whole:

  • By implementing centralized common directories, organizations can share their research with the global market while still maintaining complete control over their studies. Implementation of local, single-point access common directories and common applications though distributed systems for local healthcare professionals and employers can become a reality. Including apps that target the fostering of compliance-based competencies for staff, better methods of patient identification, and other important study-fulfillment goals can benefit both staff and local patient populations. The right technological infrastructure to enable capacity building should also be able to ensure the quality of research by monitoring study involvement and decreasing the amount of time the study takes to completion. The overall vision is to elevate the chances of connectivity for the purpose of bringing the right solutions to the right institutions.
  • In an industry where lives are at stake, it is critical that the latest and greatest information is easily accessible. Through the kind of connectivity described above, this information is shared and distributed throughout a growing network of healthcare professionals. Bringing the best products, services, specialties, technologies, and education to bear on globally standardized healthcare will save time, money, and lives. The key to integrating a successful plan at any investigative site or site network is to eliminate redundancy and reduce time of care to patients.
  • Why teach a few people at a time, when you can educate millions around the globe? Building a greater capacity for delivering certification programs to document competencies globally will improve staff proficiency and patient safety, promote inter-rater reliability, and protect the privacy, ownership, and distribution of professional and business information. By creating online training modules that are easily accessible, educators can be allowed to retain control over their product while increasing access to their teachings and promoting standardization of skillsets.
  • By reducing and ultimately eliminating the cost of distributing educational standards, clinical participation is increased. Creating authorized distribution channels to provide a real-time connectivity between consumers and providers is paramount to healthcare and clinical research professionals who need to focus on providing proper care to their patients. The need for ensuring that diverse patient populations are participating in clinical research is ongoing and increasing. Managing the cost of educational requirements improves competencies and the overall levels of clinical research quality and data integrity.


Connective, centralized, common, and sustainable systems are going to be essential for offering clinical research as a standard of care. Standardization is the key to optimizing patient populations and the economic potential for investigative sites around the world. We live in an age where many services are “on-demand,” readily accessible through shared directories, and viewable through multiple systems, including smart phones. If we tailor our approach to clinical research with the idea that clinical discovery can be done faster with the technology we currently have at our fingertips, we will be able to enhance the quality of life for many.

Al O. Pacino is President at BlueCloud® by HealthCarePoint Professional Collaborative Networks, based in Cedar Park, Texas, and a former member of the Editorial Advisory Board for ACRP.