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Decentralized trial technology can enable clinics that are not used to research. Patients’ current caregivers will be able to manage their study, increasing trust and keeping clinic visits close to home.
FREMONT, CA: Patients and clinical trial staff can communicate data remotely in Decentralized Clinical Trials (DCTs), effectively lowering the number of time patients spend at the study site and the number of in-person visits sponsors monitors must make to sites. Patients can visit local community health services and pharmacies instead of the research site, and sponsor monitors can access relevant papers online.
DCTs produce ‘localized trials,’ in which the study’s researchers can use local pharmacies, primary care doctors, and community health centers as extensions of prominent research institutes. Meeting individuals where they are makes it easier to recruit trial participants who match the study’s eligibility requirements.
According to a recent analysis, recruiting people is one of the most challenging tasks of a clinical trial. About half of clinical trials need to prolong their recruiting timeframes, and 37 percent of locations fail to reach their enrollment goals entirely. These recruitment delays can cost anywhere from 600,000 to 8 million dollars each day in potential income.
DCTs can help with this problem in two ways: they make it easier to discover eligible patients and encourage those patients to participate by lowering their travel time. According to a recent study, more than 70 percent of the population lives more than two hours distant from a research site.
Expanding Patient Diversity
How does one ensure that underrepresented patient populations are included in a trial while dealing with patient recruitment? There are two ways patient diversity can be directly impacted by DCTs, in addition to other strategies such as broadening eligibility criteria, partnering with community-based medical centers, and using patient advocacy groups.
Create New Trial Sites in New Communities: Decentralized trial technology can enable clinics that are not used to research. Patients’ current caregivers will be able to manage their study, increasing trust and keeping clinic visits close to home. Patients who are apprehensive about visiting a large medical center can easily enroll.
Create Trial Sites Around the Patients: The old, centralized approach to study management was based on constructing a trial site and then recruiting patients to it. A ‘site’ can now be constructed between one patient and one practitioner, and in certain circumstances, the site is only the patient’s phone.
Finally, decentralization enables hyper-local trials, allowing research to move away from large medical centers and places where varied individuals feel most at ease and are thus more likely to participate. However, decentralized technology is only one element of the equation when it comes to increasing patient diversity.