Use of Digital Devices in Clinical Trials Increased About 6 Folds in Last 10 Years
[Thursday, December 12, 2019]
About 1200 currently ongoing clinical trials in the US are using digitally connected tools such as wearable devices and mobile apps. That’s a 6-fold increase from about 200 such trials in 2009. However, with about 22,000 studies ongoing in the US, this is a small fraction of all clinical trials. There are several obvious benefits of using digital tools in clinical trials from being able to collect real-time data to virtual trials where patients’ visit to clinics can be reduced without compromising quality of data and with increased compliance. However, the use of digital tools is still very low at less than 5% of all clinical trials using such tools. The most common reasons are lack of validated tools for clinical trials, concerns about privacy of data and regulatory acceptance of such tools, lack of validated endpoints using big data, and industry inertia to keep using traditional technologies. However, it is expected to change. In recent years, there has have increased interested from large tech companies in clinically validating their products. Information companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft have initiated programs to harness their capabilities in health-related applications, and the interest in advanced algorithms that can analyze data in new ways. All these should be encouraging signs for use of digital tool in clinical research, as pointed by the survey by Harvard Business School but there is some way to go before digital tools become a norm for clinical research. The recent survey indicates a positive trend and that’s all there is to it at this time.