Opinion: We have been gifted a new outlook on increasing patient diversity, compliance, and retention in clinical trials

By Wessam Sonbol, The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP)

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the entire world over the last two years. Life, as we knew it, stopped. Terms like “social distancing” and “masking up” will now be a part of our lexicon forever. In our industry, 70% of clinical trials were put on hold with everyone in clinical research, and the healthcare profession at-large, shifting efforts to create and test vaccines and anti-viral medications and even to testing for the virus itself. The pandemic has undoubtedly had a profoundly negative impacted on all of us, professionally and personally. However, professionally speaking, these real-world challenges may have also given the clinical research profession the gift of perspective that will positively affect the outlook on our industry’s collective future.

The clinical research industry was challenged to find solutions regarding how to safely continue conducting clinical studies. The quickest solution that was within reach was incorporating ideas that were already a part of our community’s discussions—remote patient monitoring and decentralized clinical trials (DCTs). These topics had been discussed, and even implemented over the past few years, but not widely adopted yet. The circumstances of the pandemic made “discussions” of what could “theoretically happen” become re-framed into questions of “how do we make this happen?” and “how can we pivot our model to continue clinical trials in the current climate?”

For the past few years, industry leaders have forged a future-focused path by embracing technologies such as wearables and biosensors. Now, on a larger scale than ever before, the industry is adopting these types of devices in order to monitor trial participants and patients safely and remotely from home. Clinical research and trials have resumed as we continue to make progress and more widely accept and adopt a variety of technology platforms and solutions—tailoring them to meet the needs of all types of clinical studies. Read more …