Trends which are changing medical trials

For years, medical trials were conducted along the same lines. But new trends are currently revolutionising the way that trials take place and how patients interact with clinical researchers.

Trends which are changing medical trials

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1. Wearables

Collecting data from patients has hitherto been an expensive and time-consuming business. But wearable technology, such as the fitness monitor, has the capability to change that. The great bonus is that because the patient can wear the device at all times, data can be collected during the night without waking the patient.

2. Patient-Centred Trials

Patients feel more empowered today to question, challenge and become involved in the trial process. Clinicians and researchers have been a little slow to catch up with this but are now understanding that they must involve patients and their advocacy groups in order to help recruitment and engagement. In the UK, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) insists on patient involvement in research studies that it is funding.

3. Faster Responses to Competition

Pharma companies are becoming a lot quicker at responding to developments that occur during the trial – for example, increased competitor activity. They will now act quickly to adjust endpoints or increase patient recruitment. Clinical studies that pay patients, such as those run by, to become involved generally find it easier to increase recruitment at short notice.

4. Closer Contact Via Mobile and Social Media

Mobile technology enables pharma companies and academic researchers to keep in touch with study participants throughout the trial.

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Social media is having a similar effect in encouraging trial participants to build engagement with the study. Again, researchers have been somewhat slow at taking to social media but are now beginning to recognise the enormous benefits it can bring when communicating with a diverse group of participants.

5. Logistics and Supply Automation

Pharma companies are starting to use the “internet of things” to automate their supply and inventory functions in trials. Smart labels can be tracked through the system, enabling supply chain efficiencies.

The major trend yet to hit clinical trials is the development of artificial intelligence. But this will impact the trial process, because while the interpretation of data and the setting up of trial protocols require human intervention, there are many aspects of the trial that could potentially lend themselves to further automation.

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