Clinical trial technology has come a long way from when site administrators used a touch-tone keypad on a phone to randomize patients and order drugs. But with so many new features, it’s more challenging than ever for hospital decision makers to choose the right technology for clinical trials running at their facilities. Here, we’ll share key information on what’s changing, to help with these decisions.  

When making purchasing decisions for the next year, be on the lookout for these helpful new features that will become increasingly essential to clinical trial technology. In addition to keeping your trial on track, these next-generation products also keep the patient perspective in mind and use algorithms to help save your trial both time and costs.

Randomization and Trial Supply Management (RTSM) technology will become more predictive. Early RTSM systems needed to be customized per trial, which was often a very time-consuming process. Today, vendors have taken on enough trials that they can now easily adapt existing algorithms to fit your trial in less time than ever. Modern systems are also programmed to predict supply chain issues before they happen so you don’t waste spending on unneeded drugs.

Drug pooling using RTSM technology will grow in popularity. For hospitals that are running a series of related trials, it can be particularly challenging to stay on top of your drug supply chain without being wasteful — or coming up short. In the past, an RTSM system would need separate databases for each trial. Today, companies like Bracket and 4G Clinical are offering drug pooling capabilities that share the same inventory across multiple trials. Look for companies that allow you to set this feature up in-house to save even more time.

Interactive Web Response Systems (IWRS) will come equipped with more patient engagement tools. In addition to managing patient randomization and drug supplies, today’s Interactive Response Technology (IRT) can also include patient engagement features you can set up at the same time as your trial. For example, you can send patients newsletters about their condition, study reminders, and other content to keep them interested and informed throughout your trial. Look for companies that offer a suite of options for easily connecting with your patients.

Electronic clinical outcomes assessments (eCOA) will become a more important part of clinical trial design. Electronic clinical outcome assessments (eCOAs) have become more common in clinical trials as the industry continues to focus on patient centricity. In fact, the market for this technology, which also includes electronic diaries, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent, according to a recent report from Persistence Market Research. Patients can track mental health, disease symptoms, and more using these technologies. Impressively, trial teams report 90 percent compliance with these tools.

While many trials still use paper forms to record outcomes, there has been an increase in the “bring your own device” movement, in which patients make comments on apps downloaded on their own phones or tablets.

When choosing an eCOA company to work with, find one that offers a “bring your own device” option, easy integration with your IVRS, reporting of data, and patient reminders via text message.

There will be more integration between clinical trial technology and Electronic Health Records (EHRs). EHRs can play several key roles in a clinical trial, from trial design to recruitment. The information included in EHRs can offer valuable patient insights to help design trials that will be impactful for patients — and that patients will qualify for. If an EHR is integrated with a clinical trial matching solution, doctors can more easily recommend clinical trials for patients based on their health details.

Whether you’re looking to make a few updates to your current technology or completely overhaul your system, keeping these trends in mind can help you choose the most modern and effective system for your facility.

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Nancy Ryerson is a healthcare content creator currently working as Marketing Manager at Antidote, a health technology company dedicated to connecting patients with clinical research opportunities. Prior to Antidote, she connected with patients through digital channels at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and wrote for hospital decision makers at trade magazine DOTmed Healthcare Business News.

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