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Survey: Decentralized trials to take center stage post-COVID

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Decentralized trials will grow in popularity, according to research which suggests firms that adopted the approach as a result of COVID-19 are likely to continue using it after the pandemic is over.

The research – conducted by VivaLNK – is based on a survey of pharma, biotech and clinical trial sector professionals, 44% of whom said they had adopted remote patient monitoring (RPM) or have plans to do so in the next year.

A majority – 65% – of survey respondents who said they are using RPM cited concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic as their primary driver for using the technology.

VivaLNK CEO Jiang Li said, "COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for remote patient monitoring, as evidenced by the rapid adoption we have seen over the past year.

"We are continuing to see rapid clinical trials adapting to a decentralized model. The successful technology for such an application needs to have patient friendly medical sensors in combination with robust data delivery and aggregation."

Technology trends

The use of medical devices in clinical trials, video conferencing between clinicians and subjects has increased in popularity, with 71% of respondents stating that they utilize this technology in trials.

The ability to monitor subject response in real time is also increasing the adoption of decentralized trials.

Some 94% of those quizzed by VivaLNK said continuous data capture – defined as information recorded over 24-hours or more – is somewhat or very important to their clinical trials. Heart rate and blood pressure were identified as the most important parameters that remote technologies are being used to monitor.

The desire to increase patient adherence to therapies is also likely to increase the adoption of decentralized trial technologies according to the research, with 69% of respondents citing it as a factor.

Decentralized trend

The survey findings are in keeping with recent news in the clinical trial space. In April, for example, PPD teamed with decentralized trial specialist Science 37 to boost its remote research offering.

Incidentally, the agreement with PPD came weeks before Science 37 signed a merger deal with investment group LifeScience Acquisition II – in a move that valued the decentralized trial platform firm at $1.05 billion.

More recently a new firm called Thread entered the decentralized clinical trial space which the claim that its analytics dashboards would provide researchers with real-time, actionable insights to reduce risk, automate oversight and improve outcomes.

Image: iStock/Nuthawut-Somsuk

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