Skip to Content

Tech Trends Transforming Clinical Trials

from our CEO, Larry Birch Industry after industry, there are many examples of how hyper-connected consumers and social media are changing businesses and forcing entire ecosystems to adapt to the new paradigm. The drug and device development industry is set for dramatic change to realize time and cost savings. Those that are able will lead in productivity, reducing the cost to deliver meaningful treatment to the world. Every company must be studying how Mobile, Social, Cloud and Big Data will revolutionize – or marginalize – their business. The explosive growth in these areas will have a dramatic impact on drug and device development, and time will tell if regulatory agencies, CROs and Pharma can respond quickly enough.   Mobile Wearable Technology is defining the next wave of mobile health. For the clinical trials industry, the rapid growth of low-cost wearable health monitors for the consumer market is a fantastic avenue for identifying potential patients and gathering huge volumes of data spanning years of an individual’s life. The game changer is the ease of data collection – just snap on a wristband or tag onto your clothing and you are collecting data.   Social Self-measurement and tracking of personal habits will surely provide clinical researchers much needed data about the health history of patients. However, the next frontier for pharma companies and clinical research organizations is to tame the vast landscape of social media. As more patients turn to the online communities for support and information about clinical trials available in their area, companies need to find a way to respond within the scope of the current rules and regulations.   Cloud Computing The best Cloud-based solutions in the market today are scalable, secure, fast and configurable – that’s right configurable. In the clinical trials industry, enterprises need to carefully evaluate vendors to determine if every installation is a customized deployment or if it is truly a cloud-based solution that will enable your business to scale.   Big Data For patients in a clinical trial, the potential to capture nearly unlimited data about their mood or daily food intake during the study by having the user snap a quick picture of each meal changes the landscape of data analysis for clinical trials – pushing the envelope of Big Data significantly over the next several years. In the clinical research industry, a consortium of pharmaceutical companies has formed a not-for-profit effort, Project Data Sphere, to share and analyze de-identified, patient-level data from late-stage comparative studies to be analyzed. The hope is that with access to historical clinical trial data more efficient clinical trials can be designed, reducing the cost and accelerating the speed of finding meaningful treatment. Leveraging this dormant data is one example of how the clinical research industry can use the powerful techniques used in Big Data analytics to actively address the safe acceleration of clinical trials.   Summary The ability of the industry to adopt these advancements, and others we aren’t even imagining, is the real question. Certainly a deeper understanding of the benefits, and pitfalls, of these technologies must be well understood and delivered not by technology experts alone, but by industry leaders who have a deep understanding of the needs of clinical trials and the technology. Without expertise in both areas, the true potential of technology to transform the clinical trials industry will be only partially realized.