Virtual Clinical Trials: The Benefits and Limitations |
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Virtual Clinical Trials: The Benefits and Limitations

Virtual Clinical Trials: Image shows a tablet running a virtual clinical trial.

Virtual Clinical Trials: The Benefits and Limitations

Based on the complexity and associated time required for a new drug development process, virtual clinical trials have become the call of time in today’s world. When almost 80% of the traditional on-site approaches cannot meet adequate patient enrollment or retention, virtual trials make the data collection, patient recruitment, and clinical research process more effortless and secure and foster innovation. 

With the ever-evolving technology, patient recruitment and monitoring have become digitised that has facilitated decentralised clinical studies to a great extent. Sending consent/e-consent through the web is now a matter of a few clicks, and nurses can also attend to the patients physically if there arises an emergency. 

To help you get precise knowledge about this rising and efficient research process, I have come up with a comprehensive overview. Later on, I will introduce you to ObvioHealth, a leading VCT service provider in the market. 

What is a Virtual Clinical Trial?

Virtual Clinical Trial (VCT), better named as the decentralised or remote clinical trial, is an innovative and effective process of administering medical research using digital technologies. 

The technologies that play a vital role in helping trial coordinators to conduct the clinical studies are:

  • Electronic monitoring devices
  • Digital social media platforms
  • Mobile applications
  • Wearables
  • Cloud servers
  • Artificial intelligence and associated platforms

Now the question is, ‘Can VCTs be conducted in researching all medical conditions?’ While this virtual approach using patient-facing technologies can be suitable for executing late-phase (2nd, 3rd and 4th) experiments that are less life-threatening, like dermatological issues, trials on diseases like carcinoma or melanoma may require a site visit. 

Benefits of Virtual Clinical Trials

While virtual trials can be more effective than traditional site trials in many ways, we cannot ignore the site visits. 

The surpassing benefits VCTs offer are: 

Reduces the Cost of Patient Recruitment

The lengthy patient recruitment method of traditional clinical trials is the prime cause of trial failure that incurs a heavy loss to the pharmaceutical companies. 

The conventional process of participant recruitment is a tedious process that requires a huge sum of money. Moreover, you have to recruit patients through medical visits that limit the chances to reach broader participants. 

The ways VCT offers to improve patient enrollment and retention are:

  • VCT enables coordinators to reach patients using both conventional and digital approaches. Thus VCT helps you to meet recruitment targets without considering the patients’ geographical condition. 
  • When you have access to broader patient populations across the world, you get a chance to study a wide range of people, making the study more effective without spending additional money. 

Ensures Reduced Dropout Rates

  • Patients who are not interested in conventional clinical approaches are easily accessible through virtual trials. 
  • VCT enables trial coordinators to monitor their participants via digital platforms like apps, wearables making the process more comfortable for the patients. 
  • Researchers can access elderly, disabled, or remotely located people, and they don’t require to be involved in a site visit. 
  • Thus VCT has eased the study process and involved more people in the trials reducing the dropout rates significantly. 

Improved Data Capture and Collection

  • VCT is adopting advanced digital platforms to collect data from the participants that foster trial effectiveness. 
  • VCT enables researchers to consent with the participants from their homes via e-consent. 
  • The integration of modern technology and remote data management process adhering to regulatory compliance offers better data protection and improves study efficacy.

Empowered Research Team

  • While a new therapy or drug requires almost 15 years to be developed and enter the market, the process gets more delayed with the higher dropout rate in the conventional approach. 
  • VCT has made patient engagement easy. As people don’t have to visit the hospital and a remotely located investigation team can collect data, it improves research efficiency reducing unnecessary delays and dropouts. 
  • VCT empowers the research team by enabling them to skip tiresome administrative tasks offering digital reporting, notification, and scheduling facilities. 

Limitations of Virtual Clinical Trials

Though VCTs come with immense benefits in clinical research, some of the challenges yet to overcome are: 

  • Some studies that involve processes like MRI, biopsies, etc., require site visits. 
  • Collecting authentic information and ensuring the electronic devices are appropriately operating is a big challenge in VCT. For instance, what if a wearable or sensor is malfunctioning.  
  • To reduce risks, ensure efficient data collection and protection and boost accuracy, constant technical support is essential while conducting VCT. 
  • Participants with less medical literacy and ignorant of technology can limit the study process. 

ObvioHealth, the Leading VCT Service

Obviohealth, the pioneer in driving the digitisation of health innovation, is a digital platform that facilitates the clinical trial process by ensuring prompt enrollment, decreased dropout, and higher compliance. 

Let’s put insight into how ObvioHealth fosters clinical innovation through its cost-effective approaches and patient engagement. 

ObvioHeath Ensures Faster, High-quality Patient-centric Trails

ObvioHealth, with its 4x faster recruitment process, goes beyond geographical boundaries and gets access to the pool of diverse participants who can be beyond reach in the traditional approach. 

Some of the limitations of clinical trials regarding patient enrollment that ObvioHealth overcomes are:

  • It utilises global analytics to identify participants worldwide. 
  • ObvioHealth boosts participant engagement and reduces dropout by 60%, making the trial process run from the patient’s home. 
  • With ObvioHealth’s seamless digital workflows and platforms, clinical trials have become effortless, more accurate, and less time-consuming.

Utilises Advanced Technology to Improve Research Efficacy

With the purpose-built digital platform and patient-centric services, and mobile application, ObvioHealth has enabled its expert virtual study team to interact with the participants and offer expert support. 

It fosters study by offering:

  • Patient ePROs, eIC (electronic Informed consent) and user-friendly questionnaires
  • Utilises pictograms and scales to understand patient condition
  • Uses audio, imaging, and video
  • Ensures improved protocol compliance and participant engagement by sending notifications to their phones. 

A Scalable and Highly-adaptable Model

Though a VCT service cannot be an all-in-one solution for each clinical trial, Obviohealth, with its purpose-built platforms, global recruitment channels, and unparalleled information collection, safety, and analysis process, can be your ultimate decentralised system to run clinical trials ensuring higher compliance and accuracy. 

Wrap Up

Virtual clinical trials are digitising the health industry and achieving new milestones in developing new drugs and therapies. ObvioHealth plays a prominent role in enabling sponsors and CROs to get real-time, accurate data and make the trial process follow the regulatory compliance better. 

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