What Possibilities Do Virtual Clinical Trials Create for Patients?

What Possibilities Do Virtual Clinical Trials Create for Patients?

Virtual clinical trials are crucial because they drive significant changes to how clinical research is conducted. While a plus for the industry, these decentralized trials also create more convenience for patients hoping to eliminate travel and improve accessibility for better, more efficient care. 

Clinical trials are typically time-consuming and multi-layered processes that can take several years to complete. The average time ranges between six and seven years, sometimes taking up to 15 years. Plus, the costs involved with traditional clinical trials vary from marketing approval to research and development. Additionally, a large proportion of therapies falter during the early stages of clinical development. Virtual clinical trials, by contrast, as patient-centric because they take full advantage of advanced technologies like electronic monitoring devices and apps to improve patient care with less cost. What are the possibilities and opportunities that virtual trials offer patients? 

Recruiting Patients with Traditional Clinical Trials is Very Costly

One of the biggest causes of clinical trial delays is a lack of patient engagement. Typically, patient recruitment takes up a considerable chunk of the overall budget, which rose in 2021. Many trials fail to meet initial timelines and enrollment targets, with delays resulting in millions of dollars lost for companies. While reaching out to patients who have previously expressed interest in participating in clinical trials and improved targeting strategies help with patient engagement, the costs are still so hefty that they compromise any good-faith attempts to optimize patient recruitment. 

Virtual clinical trials change the approach for patient engagement, reducing time and costs along the way. Traditional clinical trials exhaust time and expenses due to having a limited reach of fitting trial participants. These traditional trials recruit participants through clinics, hospital visits, and traditional media outlets like TV advertising, radio, and newspapers. Patient geography, however, limits the reach of conventional clinical trials and contributes to the increasing costs and time spent. 

Virtual Clinical Trials Focus on Convenience for Patients 

Virtual clinical trials use a combination of traditional and digital recruiting means to engage patients. By using this combination, it’s easier to reach enrollment targets, leading to a quicker initiation of the clinical study. With digital means, virtual clinical trials target patients directly through social media and search engines, leveraging web-based platforms to maximize engagement. Furthermore, the digital method of recruiting patients for trial engagement bypasses geographical restrictions, ensuring a more substantial reach of eligible trial participants worldwide. 

Because virtual clinical trials use a more modern and broader recruitment strategy, a more diverse representation of eligible patients will be available compared to what traditional clinical trials can attract. 

More Accessibility, Lower Dropout Rates 

Virtual clinical trials provide more possibilities and opportunities for patients because of their increased accessibility compared to their more-traditional counterparts. Virtual trials are accessible to patients who would be ineligible to participate in or outright excluded from traditional trials. With the increase of specialist virtual clinical trial providers since 2014, such accessibility has only grown. These specialist providers offer a wide range of services, including patient recruitment services, remote monitoring device integration, telemedicine, and virtual visits, among others. 

As virtual clinical visits are remotely conducted, each virtual visit takes place from the comfort of a patient’s home or via a patient’s phone. A virtual approach to the clinical trial process makes it easier for physicians to integrate clinical trials into their practice while improving patient convenience by allowing afflicted patients to participate at will. Patients with disabilities and mobility issues, as well as the elderly, can participate in virtual clinical trials without having to travel at any point. Additionally, given the remote setup of a virtual clinical trial, patients don’t have to take off any time from work to participate in the trial. 

By improving accessibility and putting more control in the hands of patients, virtual clinical trials improve patient compliance as the instructions are clear. Additionally, with the increased accessibility, dropout rates for virtual clinical trials are lower compared to traditional clinical trials because it’s easier to participate and follow. 

Front-Line Clinical Research Also Provides Patients With Opportunities

Virtual clinical trials engage community physicians in front-line clinical research, improving patient engagement and diversity while bringing research to underrepresented populations. Patients based in these underrepresented populations can participate in virtual clinical trials under continued care provided by their doctors instead of trusting an unfamiliar medical professional to handle care or traveling to a central trial site. 

Several companies now utilize platforms that identify potential patients for their virtual clinical trials while also providing adequate support and infrastructure so that clinical physicians can seamlessly conduct virtual trials from their offices. With more front-line research and the increased involvement of physicians in the trial recruiting process, more patients will be willing to submit information and participate earnestly throughout the trial. 

Virtual Clinical Trials Can Be Applied to Various Use Cases 

Considering the detrimental health effects triggered by the pandemic, there is an increased advent for web-based clinical trials to match the demand for early-phase clinical studying, paving the way for more use cases with virtual trials. The accelerating growth of the virtual clinical market can directly be attributed to an increase in people suffering from chronic diseases such as neurological diseases and heart disease. Plus, the growing geriatric population has forced more of a digital transformation within the clinical space.

Virtual clinical trials are expected to become more commonplace given their higher recruitment rates and ease of compliance. Considering that the industry has vital objectives of conducting low-risk trials and net higher returns, virtual clinical trials allow physicians to bring new, advanced treatments to their patients quickly, improving the well-being of patients worldwide by using a more timely, cost-efficient care method. Whether for medical advice studies, cancer research, or in alternate scenarios, virtual clinical trials can be applied to various fields, affording more patients the chance at a better quality of life. 

Decentralized clinical trials represent new opportunities to physicians and patients alike, ensuring a less extensive and more valuable clinical trial process. At Adaptive Partners, we team up with community physicians to integrate clinical trials into their practices to provide new opportunities for the patients they recruit. Learn how we do this through our various solutions.

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