A Decentralized Future
As we battled our way through the worst of the COVID pandemic, it became clear that clinical trials had to carry on while still managing to maintain the highest and most intense quarantine protocols. One of the good things that COVID brought us is the idea of decentralizing clinical trials, which is great for so many reasons. Companies like Clinical Ink have been at the forefront of this idea and pushing it forward for more reasons than one. What was once a stopgap in a terrible situation is now a viable way of running successful clinical trials with minimal upsets to patients and staff. Join us as we take a look at what a decentralized clinical trial is and why they’re working so well for the medical industry.
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What Is a Decentralized Clinical Trial
There are many ways to describe where and how decentralized clinical trials happen; home, virtual, remote, or siteless. All of these terms are, in essence, correct, and the gist of the matter is the same; decentralized clinical trials are clinical trials carried out outside of a typical hospital or laboratory setup. Don’t worry; decentralization doesn’t mean that fewer or no medical professionals are involved, and it doesn’t mean that the staff will have absolutely no contact with the patients. It does mean that medicine and technology are coming together to make the experience of clinical trials a little simpler and more comfortable for the patients involved.
Sponsors and medical professionals who are considering running a DCT rather than a traditional trial need to formulate their approach based on a fundamental understanding of the needs and experiences of the patients involved. They need to focus on minimizing the burden placed on patients and offering incentives that will ultimately lead to the patients being much more engaged in the experience. Sponsors and medical professionals need to build adaptive models and be ready to evolve as the concept evolves.
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Why Is Decentralization The Future for Clinical Trials
Lower Dropout Rates
DCTs show significantly lower dropout rates than regular clinical trials. Many patients live a reasonable distance away from testing sites and struggle to get to and from testing locations, especially if they are in the grips of an illness. Decentralized clinical trials mean that the patients are able to remain in the comfort of their own homes and have the trial effectively come to them. This is more convenient by far, which naturally decreases patient dropout rates.
Trials Finish on Time
An estimated 85% of clinical trials run over their projected completion date when run in their traditional format. Decentralized trials are far more appealing to patients, which radically speeds up recruitment and, as we mentioned before, reduces dropout rates. Since sponsors are out excessive amounts of money for each day that a trial runs over, they are as keen as the patients to decentralize trials in an effort to keep them running smoothly.
A Patient-Centric Experience
While results are the ultimate goal of any clinical trial, medical professionals must remember that these results are used to treat patients just like those involved in the trial. A decentralized clinical trial is a far more patient-centric experience, which is precisely as it should be in an industry designed to treat patients. For hundreds of years now, patients have had to fit into the medical system; an inflexible model that does not allow for a range of different circumstances. Finally, it seems that the experience is being molded to suit the patients and meet them in their individual, unique situations.
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Real-World Data Collection
Data collected in clinical trials that are run in the traditional manner is accurate but not necessarily a complete representation of how a patient’s system might interact with medications or treatments in its own environment. Decentralized clinical trials offer real-world data that builds a much better selection of evidence for medical professionals to draw from.
While it is still a new concept, relatively speaking, the decentralized clinical trial is the way forward for the medical industry. Naturally, there are cons for every pro, but this patient-centric approach to trialing new medical treatments is the caring approach we need to see in the medical industry.