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Overcoming Obstacles in Decentralised Clinical Trials (DCTs)

3 minute read

The purpose of decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) is to eliminate unnecessary site visits for patients, resulting in more efficient and cost-effective operations for the provider. This can be accomplished through the use of Internet of Things (IoT). Devices such as medical-grade wearables and tablets are connected by sensors and monitors to effectively transmit data to healthcare professionals, which can be used to collect patient data, as well as patient-observed information through electronic diaries.

The Market Landscape for DCTs

The use of telehealth has significantly spiked since February 2020. According to research conducted by McKinsey & Company, telehealth usage in April 2020 increased to a record high of 78 times higher than in February 2020 due to the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research continues by stating that although there has been a decline in virtual healthcare since that time period, it has stabilised at roughly 38 times higher than before the pandemic began. Similarly, as of August 2022, 424,674 clinical trials have been registered globally. This amount has grown remarkably since 2000 when only 2,119 global trials had been registered.

4 Benefits of IoT-Enabled Clinical Trials

The adoption of advanced technologies in the healthcare and life sciences industry has led connected devices to become a standard practice in this field – and for a good reason. IoT in clinical trials brings many benefits to the table when analysing data collection, patient engagement, and patient recruitment.

More accurate monitoring – IoT helps reduce technical errors when collecting patient data. Readings from medical devices are taken more accurately and sent directly to healthcare professionals, resulting in a streamlined, high-quality process.

Improved patient retention – Traditionally, patients have to visit healthcare providers on-site, making it more difficult for doctors, clinics, and hospitals to recruit and establish new patients. However, DCTs do not require participants to frequently visit a clinic, allowing healthcare providers to widen the patient pool easier. Even in hybrid models, reducing the number of times a patient has to visit on-site can make it less difficult to recruit.

Enhanced participant experience – Virtual clinical trials can make healthcare more accessible to everyone. DCTs can also reduce physical contact between patients and clinicians, creating limited exposure while being mindful of virus transmission, such as COVID, concerns.

Real-time communication – Real-time correspondence allows patients to report any symptoms or concerns, lessening the risk of missed data points.

Possible Challenges in the Space

Just like with any new approach, roadblocks are common – and knowing how to solve for success is crucial. Consider these challenges when deploying decentralised clinical trials:

  • Hardware selection
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM)
  • Distribution and logistics
  • Continuous operations
  • Security and compliance

How to Solve for Success

IoT in clinical trials is crucial in delivering resilient network management and wireless connectivity for healthcare providers – and KORE has solutions and services to support this connected health application. KORE offers comprehensive solutions and services including and comprehensive project management through regulatory compliant managed services. Are you ready for decentralised clinical trials? Take our readiness assessment.

We further address the DCT marketplace, benefits and challenges, and customer breakthroughs in our upcoming webinar, “The Problem with Decentralised Clinical Trials and How to Solve for Success” on September 7 at 3pm GMT.

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