14 Mar Future of Clinical Research – Decentralized Clinical Trials (DCT)
The Covid -19 pandemic disrupted the Clinical Research Industry massively. The clinical trials for drug discoveries and therapies were delayed and paused for an endless time.
These shortcomings have led to technological advancement in the field of clinical trials and accelerated the use of various ground-breaking technologies like Decentralized Clinical trials, virtual trials, hybrid trials etc. The industry is now getting inclined towards technological innovations more than ever.
DCT refers to the use of a range of digital solutions for data collection, data management and remote patient monitoring for conducting cost effective clinical trials.
It does not only lower the possibility of missing visits or inaccurate drug administration by the participants which could then lead to an early termination or prolonged delay of a trial, but it also enables home visits for test procedures and safety evaluations over video meetings or calls. DCT allows sending over the study materials to the participant’s home, online assessments in the form of questionnaires for observations and outcomes reported by patients thereby increasing the flexibility of the trials to multiple folds. Various digital solutions like wearables, ePROs, eCOAs etc. are used to track subjective patient data on real time basis.
DCT adapts remote monitoring of the sites and the study through a central platform. This enables proactive issue identification and predictive analysis of the available data. Such platforms enable quick decision making and improve trial efficiency.
Although it is an upcoming technique for conducting clinical studies, it reduces the travel burden of the participants and serves well for the logistics of any trial too. It also attracts diverse and remote population for the patient enrolment because of the efficiency and improved attention towards clinical research. Thus, Decentralized trials improve subject participation experience, sponsor oversight, CRO data analytics etc. and is intended to enrich the industry in the long run.
Though the decision to adopt a particular trial strategy (DCT/hybrid/virtual etc.) should be made after careful considerations of the protocol, trial design, expected patient pool, geographical locations etc.