Patients are invaluable for clinical trials, and hence the biggest challenge for conducting a clinical trial successfully is patient recruitment and retention. Data reveals that 85% of trials fail to recruit enough patients, while 80% fail to finish the trials on time. Yet there is a 30% average dropout rate.
With the pandemic happening and hospital visits becoming a scary affair, sponsors and CROs are finding innovative ways to involve direct-to-patient approaches for patient recruitment and retention. Digitization and technology advancement are easing the processes of virtual trials, especially patient recruitment, and engagement.
How can virtual trial ease the process?
Traditionally, clinical trials rely heavily on paperwork and less importance is given to patient engagement, but virtual trials and technology interventions make it possible to bring in personalization to enhance the patient experience. Let’s take a more in-depth look.
- Identify the right patient using AI-driven technologies
As we all know, recruitment is not just the most time-consuming step in a clinical trial but also the most expensive step. It is hard to find the right candidates who fit the trial requirement. Wrong recruitment can lead to high dropout rates. Such issues can be eliminated using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP). NLP is a technology that enables a computer to analyse written or spoken words. When adopted in clinical trials, NLP can be used to develop algorithms that can interpret notes of doctors and pathology reports of patients, thus helping to identify the right candidates for the trial.
- Lesser dropout rate; engagement through mobile technology
The availability of new technologies like patient portals, sensors, and different apps offer better access to patients. They can now use their devices to log their health information without visiting hospitals, scheduling appointments, or requesting prescription refills. This technology also has facilitated new channels for communications between patients and researchers. For example, one of the common causes of patient dropouts is forgetting appointments. Through their devices, patients can get reminders for attending a meeting or taking medication on time. They can also access information or educational information regarding the treatment plan or ask questions. Remote patient monitoring apps are also useful for remote monitoring of patients who stay far from the trial sites. Such convenient and unobtrusive virtual trials can help reduce dropout rates and boost enrolment.
- Reaching beyond boundaries and collating data in a centralized platform
From smartphone apps to gadgets and gizmos, technology is at the heart of virtual clinical research. Data can be collected at lightning speed. Often, it can be collected and sent for analysis simultaneously, making the whole process of data collection and analysis automated. With centralized platforms in place, data can travel beyond geographical boundaries, thus fostering better collaboration among all stakeholders and improving patient recruitment.
- Streamline recruitment using technology
Patient recruitment is always challenging in clinical trials. But with technology by your side, it is possible to streamline recruitment efforts. For example, if you’re running more than one trial parallelly for a related condition, consider portfolio level recruitment. In simple words, it means you reach out to a larger audience with a certain condition and recruit them for both trials simultaneously. You can then determine which trial the patient fits in better. Multi-trial matching can be achieved by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will save time and resources and enhance the patient experience by helping patients narrow down options where they want to participate. Additionally, the likelihood of eligibility for a trial is increased.
Patient recruitment and engagement is one of the biggest hurdle in clinical trials. But with sophisticated technologies at the disposal, sponsors and CROs are a step closer to see more success in patient recruitment and engagement. Know that technology has many impacts on a clinical trial, patient recruitment being just one of it