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All over the world, laboratories develop drugs & therapies that bring life-changing benefits to patients. Before administrating them to patients, these drugs and therapies undergo multiple trials and approvals to ensure efficacy, dosage, and efficiency and are checked for side effects and any potentially harmful impact on the human body.
Traditionally, these trials were conducted in a closed setup at a research site with the help of academia and hospitals, where subjects are tested in various pre-conditions, doses, etc. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many clinical trials causing delays in releasing potentially beneficial therapeutics to patients in need. Hence, the world is moving towards the decentralization of clinical trials, which is further spurred by technological advancement.
What is a Decentralized Clinical Trial (DCT)?
Despite many difficulties, a good side-effect of the pandemic is the swift adoption of virtual interactions between physicians and patients to provide continuity of care. This increased adoption of virtual interaction, healthcare, and monitoring is paving the way for DCTs. Industry leaders and experts define decentralized clinical trials in multiple terms, including virtual, home, remote, and siteless. However, the end goal remains the same – making clinical trials easier for patients by reducing or eliminating the need to travel to specific sites while improving the confidence in trials & data.
DCTs, also called virtual studies, are less dependent on traditional research facilities or specialist intermediaries for data collection. In DCTs, CROs leverage virtual tools, such as telemedicine, sensory-based technologies, wearable medical devices, and patient-centric virtual healthcare interfaces, and ensure direct delivery of study drugs and materials to patients’ homes. In a fully decentralized clinical trial, patient onboarding, delivery, the administration of study drugs & therapies, and the collection of trial outcomes are carried out without involving in-person contact between the study team and the patient/subject.
How is Technology Playing a Crucial Role in Improving the Adoption of DCTs?
The widespread adoption of DCTs is spurred by enhanced internet connectivity, real-time video conferencing, smartphone health applications, and remotely connectable health monitoring devices that are becoming more accurate, practical, and affordable. DCTs have reduced drop-out rates, improved study effectiveness, and ultimately gotten life-altering drugs to market faster.
Key benefits of decentralization of clinical trials
Decentralized trials exist in many forms and shapes. Many trials are not likely to be fully virtual but still leverage “virtual” or “at-home” elements. Now, CROs and drug manufacturers have started moving from Centralized to Hybrid or fully decentralized trials based on the needs of the trials.
How can Brillio help?
Brillio is a leading player in this domain, and we have our own blockchain solution called ‘Smart Clinical Trials’ to help CROs to expedite their clinical trials. We are also working with multiple CROs across the industry and building solutions compatible with modern wearables to improve data collection, monitoring, and adverse event management leveraging our extensive Life Sciences domain expertise, engineering capabilities, and product-centric mindset.
Sr Consultant, Cloud Engineering Studio, Brillio. Presales and Business Consultant with experience in areas such as Digitization, Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, and Automation. He is passionate about Business Development, Digital & Strategy Consulting, and Product Development leveraging human-centric design & cutting-edge technologies.
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