3 Tech Trends in Clinical Trials with Susanne Mitschke
Clinical research has significantly changed in the last few years, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting push for virtualization. New developments in technology and increasing demand for thoroughly researched consumer products have driven innovation in the field, yielding clinical research that is more accurate, accessible, and efficient.
While leading Citruslabs as a digital contract research organization, I have seen these shifts firsthand and understand how they have helped improve clinical trial quality. In this blog, I’ll cover the most notable emerging trends that are shaping the future of clinical trials for consumer brands.
Digital Health Technology
It seems that nearly every major industry switched to the digital space during the pandemic, and clinical trials were no exception. Clinical research was already beginning to find a foothold in the virtual space, but the last five years have skyrocketed the popularity of digital health approaches.
There has been a sharp uptick in clinical trials utilizing technologies such as wearable health trackers, and mobile apps. This technology benefits clinical trials in a few key ways:
Health data can be collected automatically in real-time through wearable devices, for instance, those tracking heart rate. This can provide researchers with a more accurate picture of a participant’s progress without the need for extraneous manual measurements.
Data will be more accurate with automatic reporting, or with self-reporting that is more accessible for participants throughout their day, such as through a mobile app. These methods improve the accuracy of self-report data and generate a more reliable picture of participants’ progress.
Virtual Clinical Trials
Similar to wearable tech, virtual or hybrid clinical trial models enable researchers to collect more accurate data while also lowering the burden on participants. virtual clinical trials are becoming more common, and this trend is likely to continue. Virtual clinical trials allow participants to complete the trial from the comfort of their own homes, reducing the need for travel and making it easier for people to participate. This trend is particularly important for those who live in remote areas, have particularly busy schedules, or may struggle to travel due to mobility issues. You can learn more about the value of the digital trial model, here on the blog.
Data Security and Blockchain
Blockchain technology is a new innovation that has the potential to transform clinical trials. This technology provides a secure, decentralized system for storing and sharing data, making it easier to manage and share clinical trial data securely. This is more important with digital trial models and the increased amount of data traveling online.
While the technology is still being developed, I anticipate the clinical field to begin seeing more and more contract research organizations implementing this method of data protection over the next few years. This could be an innovative approach to addressing the privacy concerns many participants feel in regard to virtual clinical trials or any other kind of digital health intervention.
Clinical Tech Trends In Conclusion
The biggest trends and innovations I have noticed rising in the clinical field are the influx of digital health tech (such as wearable devices), the new popularity of virtual clinical trials, and the push for technology that increases confidentiality and data security, namely blockchain storage. These shifts in clinical research are likely to benefit the field by reliably providing more accurate data as well as increasing the accessibility of clinical research.
Further, the continued innovation of digital research technologies will hopefully draw in more consumer brands and encourage a higher standard of rigor in reporting product claims.
Many supplement, skincare, or cosmetics brands shy away from research because the barrier to entry can seem too high in terms of financial investment and convoluted regulatory processes. With the growing digital approach, more brands will be able to access clinical research and find study designs that suit their budget and timeline.
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