Healthcare industry as a whole is now looking to better engage with patients using bots, where, the patients care aspect is being automated. The impersonal nature of the bots has a benefit in various situations, wherein a real doctor is not needed. In many cases, patients are more transparent to these chatbots than they are with their doctor concerning mental illness & medical information.
In Clinical Trials, Chatbots can be beneficial for both trial participants and investigators to a large extent. It can help them schedule site visits, report adverse events in real time, remind participants to take their pills, monitor health status and perform other time-consuming tasks virtually online, through chatbots.
Below are a few use cases of Chatbot in Clinical Trial eco-system:
- Patient Recruitment / Pre-Screening:
Patient recruitment for Clinical Trials remains a problem that is still prevailing. With the advent of social media and digital campaigns, which are helping Clinical Sites to increase trial visibility & participants, results in bringing lots of website traffic, email & telephone inquiries from potential trial participants. Screening them all one-by-one as per the eligibility criteria of that particular study is a humongous task for any Site.
Chatbots can help Clinical Sites save time through automated logical branching questions and determine whether the particular person is eligible for the study or not, depending on the responses made. These responses can be stored & accessed for other studies involving different inclusion criteria.
- Site Selection:
One of the most important aspects of the Clinical Trial is, selecting an optimal Study Site. The ability to recognize, engage & efficiently work with experienced and qualified sites is a key factor in any clinical trial success.
Chatbots can be used on any CRO or Sponsors’ website to gather site information such as staff qualifications, facilities/equipment, past performance and site profile. Feasibility report of any Site with respect to a specific study can be created immediately using data gathered through chatbot.
All data on each patient participating in clinical trials are held and documented in eCRF. The Clinical Site collects data from trial participants during their site visits and updates the respective eCRFs.
eCRF also helps the sites to compile and standardize diverse data in a manner that fulfills the study protocol and allows data to be reviewed and analyzed by the FDA.
Chatbots can be utilized to collect data from trial participants remotely without visiting the site. Participants can also notify about any adverse events or issues with their health to the doctors in real-time. The Clinical Sites or CRO’s can use chatbots to access information about any study or participants through conversation depending on their access.
Patient Reported Outcome systems are used to collect data directly from trial participants in the form of surveys or a patient diary, containing responses collected regularly throughout the trial. This data from the ePRO is used to measure the benefit of treatment or risk in the clinical trial.
These patient diaries and surveys can be replaced by chatbots which would be instrumental in collecting data from trial participants automatically, multiple times a day, making it easier for the participants to record their health improvements & report any difficulties. Interactive Voice Response Systems can be embedded into chatbots to collect data through voice response from participants.
eCONSENT provides patients with clear & easy-to-understand clinical trial information so that they are truly informed while making decisions. It also helps in enhancing patient compliance by offering sites the tools to get insight into patient’s understanding.
With chatbots, trial participants can get answers in real-time to all their queries & concerns with respect to the clinical trial which, in return will save a lot of time to the clinical sites. Chatbots will be beneficial in collecting feedback from patients who are not participating in the study and help sites identify which parts of the consent generate questions.
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By Jeya Mani Maran