4 Ingenious Ways To Recruit Patients For Clinical Trials

Patient recruitment and retention rank among the greatest challenges faced by the clinical trial industry today. On an average 60 percent of the total drug development cost goes into clinical trials. Moreover, 32 percent of the clinical trial cost goes solely into patient recruitment and retention.

Source: Grandview research

The global clinical trial market is on a constant rise. More than $2 Billion are spent annually for recruiting patients for the clinical trials. The time is ripe for a paradigm shift in the manner of patient recruitment in clinical trials and leveraging technology to the same effect.

Here are the top ways in which technology has the potential to streamline the process of patient recruitment in clinical trials.

1. Virtual clinical drug trials

Virtual clinical trials, also called siteless trials, are an upcoming trend in the field of clinical trials. It takes the drug trials out of the clinics and into the patient’s homes.

Using technology tools such as custom built mobile apps for enrolling and engaging patients, clinically validated wearables and sensors for collection of patient data, and digital communication platforms, it is now possible to conduct clinical trials virtually.

The per participant costs of the drug trials get slashed by half when shifting to virtual medium over the conventional on-site trials.

Additionally, the convenience to participation it offers allows for a more diverse participation surpassing physical, financial and geographical boundaries.

2. Use of AI/ML for patient recruitment

Software-led approaches are taking patient recruitment to new frontiers. Artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning are bringing forth new advances in the field of clinical drug trials.

ML algorithms can scan through multiple data types and patient records in order to come up with the right selection in terms of fit as well as engagement.

Processes like electronic phenotyping can also get a boost from AI algorithms which in turn help reducing population heterogeneity

Drawing from a variety of data sources like EHRs, physician notes, images, patient scans, etc, artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms can help enhance patient selection.

They have the potential to promote diversity, reduce population heterogeneity, choose patients who are more likely to have a measurable clinical endpoint, and identify a cohort of patients who are more capable of responding to treatment.

Mendel.ai, deep6, and Clara Health are some of the pioneers which are leveraging AI for streamlining patient recruitment.

Artificial Intelligence can also be deployed in the designing of clinical protocol. Large data sets from previous trials can be compared to determine similarities and areas of concern.

Researchers and CROs can use that information to improve the protocol design of the forthcoming trial and plan for effective patient recruitment strategies.

3. Passive data collection and analysis

The internet of medical things (IoMT) is making its presence felt in the field of healthcare. Use of smart devices and connected technologies is already underway in clinical trials for patient data collection. It is estimated that the clinical trials would be dominated by wearable technologies and predictive analytics in the next 10 years.

Real-time information about the physical as well as physiological conditions can be collected and transmitted back to the researchers and analyzed to collate quantifiable insights.

From blood glucose levels to peak respiratory flow and blood pressure, wearable devices and sensors can collect a variety of data. It can also ensure adherence to the medication regimen and even log patient moods making it a rewarding way of collecting data for clinical trials.

Moreover, if the patient visits the clinical site a few times every month, the data collected equals to nearly 50 hours whereas in case of wearables, nearly 4000 hours of data is effectively logged in.

It is also a hassle free experience for clinical trial participants who don’t have to travel to the site frequently and can participate in the trials from the comfort of their own homes. This directly correlates to higher enrollment, engagement and retention rates in the trials.

More data doesn’t always mean better data or even improved outcomes. AI algorithms and predictive analytics can assist researchers to make sense of this data and use it to apply the results clinically.

With the rise of computing power, and the FDA’s revised stance on digital tools, the software-enabled tide for engaging and enrolling patients is constantly on the rise.

4. Mobile technology in clinical trials

Use of mobile technologies is critical to enabling virtual clinical trials and easing the site burden on the clinical trials. Having specialized medication adherence apps can send out reminders at regular intervals in the form of push notifications.

Mobile apps can also make it easier for the patients to go through the application process, automate the form filling and take it digital, thus eliminating the need for paper based sign-ups.

Other than the logistical and scientific advantages mobile technology in clinical trials brings, it also boosts the safety and security of patient data.

Developing a HIPAA compliant app ensures that the most stringent data encryption and safety measures have been taken to protect the clinical and patient data from malicious attacks.

Patients also have reported a strong willingness to participate in mobile trials. According to a 2019 research study, 80.7 percent participants said that they would be willing to join a mobile trail and 76.4 percent would prefer it over the traditional trials.

Thus mHealth is proven to be one of the most effective ways of advancing patient recruitment in clinical trials and ensuring their retention, thus bolstering the chances of success and bringing down the costs.

Closing words

Technology offers promising benefits to the realm of clinical trials. It would be interesting to see the rewards that researchers would be able to reap as a result of incorporation of technology in the design and conduction of clinical drug trials.

Talking to the experts in the field of healthcare technology can get you started off the right foot and have you better positioned for success at its implementation.

With 9+ years of experience as the country’s leading healthcare and medical software development company, Arkenea is a pioneer in the health-tech world. Get in touch with your requirements with our team of consultants today.

Vinati Kamani
 

Dr Vinati Kamani writes about emerging technology and its application across industries for Arkenea. She is an avid reader and self proclaimed bibliophile. When Vinati is not at her desk penning down articles or reading up on the recent trends, she can be found travelling to remote places and soaking up different cultural experiences.