Benefits of conducting virtual clinical trials

Avnet explains how harnessing IoT to conduct virtual trials will help clinical research organizations (CROs) adopt a more patient-centric approach and deliver the following benefits.


Cost reduction: It isn’t uncommon for clinical trials to last years and for costs to reach several billion Euro. Using IoT to conduct virtual trials could dramatically reduce the timing from years to months or, in some cases, even less than a day.


Improved participation: Finding and retaining participants can be problematic. Drug companies tend to be large organizations located in or close to urbanized areas. This limits the catchment area for participants, with those not close to the facility much less likely to participate in clinical trials. IoT will provide easier access to a more diverse range of participants. This will alleviate the issue of finding patients for trials during each phase of drug development.


Better data capture: Data entry is often carried out manually, which can introduce errors. IoT was built to capture real-world data and handle complex data sets. Also, IoT doesn’t know what is real and what is virtual, so it has no preconceptions of the different domains. A virtual trial could be as simple as capturing data from a patient in a facility, to monitoring vital statistics halfway across the world.


Data can be collected by a trained member of staff or a wearable sensor. The smart connected device will capture patient data and send it securely to the CRO. This is already happening using devices such as smartphones and smartwatches. Also, patients are increasingly using home-based medical devices connected to the internet to monitor their own blood sugar levels, heart health, weight, sleep patterns and more. This data is shared with medical professionals who may be many miles away. The same technology is applicable to virtual clinical trials, making it easier to conduct trials for CROs and participants.


Faster response times: IoT provides instant and continuous access to live data, plus a secure infrastructure that supports remote screening and patient verification. This means that smart triggers and alerts can be used to provide faster response times. It also enables drugs and other supplies to be delivered direct to the patient’s home.


Reduced risk: Data captured remotely can be preconditioned for advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), enabling medical experts to leverage technology, data and their preferred analytics in a more integrated way to support risk-based monitoring (RBM). By identifying risks that could affect the quality of any data gathered, RBM can improve the quality of the study, provide greater patient safety and add transparency to the trial.