Clinical studies are the pillar of drug development. They provide scientific evidence on the efficacy and safety of new drugs and inform clinical care. However, conventional trials are expensive, slow, and inefficient. For example, traveling to research sites can burden trial participants, especially if the study protocol requires many regular visits. A clinical research organization and other Veristat research stakeholders are increasingly finding new ways to address these challenges and meet patients’ needs.
An emerging trend in clinical trials has been incorporating digital health technologies that have enabled virtual clinical studies, which have revolutionized the trial landscape. Virtual clinical trials can improve recruitment and retention, from efficiently collecting study information at each stage to enabling research patients to participate from their homes.
Solving Traditional Trial Problems Using a Virtual Approach
Not only is virtual clinical trial flexible, but also customizable to patient needs and trial design. Conventional on-site processes such as lab work, dosing, and patient follow-ups can be done remotely at home. Sometimes, trial leaders can use a hybrid model that combines at-home and on-site visits. Alternatively, participants can get the investigational product (IP) in the comfort of their homes.
Is a Virtual Trial Model Right for Your Clinical Research?
Adopting a new method of conducting clinical trials can be challenging. And adopting a virtual approach is no different. Most clinical research organizations (CROs) have experts to help navigate this model in your trial. Depending on the CRO you will partner with, you end up with a customized virtual study ecosystem that fits your study and satisfies participants’ needs. So a virtual trial model is right for you, no matter the drug you try to develop.
How to Make a Virtual Trial Approach Work for You
There’s more to a virtual study approach than sending the investigational product to participants’ homes. A comprehensive virtual trial model integrates multiple processes and powerful technologies and involves seamless coordination between trial sites, stakeholders, patients, labs, trial monitors, and nurses. You can deploy a virtual model in your clinical trial in three simple steps:
Set Up Digital Recruitment Interventions
This means implementing digital branding and marketing strategies to recruit and educate patients. You can also set up a physician-staffed call center to qualify participants and register eligible patients. On top of that, have a team to manage communication channels between integrated vendors, research patients, at-home nurses, and trial sites.
Implement At-Home Patient Visits
Your study protocol will determine how you will go about this. In most cases, travel nurses visit research patients at their homes. Instead of sending supplies to the site, you can deliver them directly to patients to streamline logistic management. Moreover, leverage modern wearable technologies to collect trial data from patients’ homes.
Leverage Virtual Interaction Models
Your study patients and researchers can interact through telemedicine, maybe through video meetings. Modern electronic data capture (EDC) systems can collect patient data remotely as you monitor trial progress.
This virtual model solves enormous challenges in drug development. As such, it removes geographic barriers, so trial leaders have a large pool of prospects when looking for patients. A virtual clinical trial model reduces the patient burden of travel and time visiting a physical clinical trial site. What’s more, it offers a flexible and fully integrated hybrid approach tailored to the patients, sponsors, and clinical sites.