It is common knowledge how difficult it is to enroll patients in clinical trials, maintain their participation throughout the duration of the research, and, ultimately, get regulatory approval for the experimental medication being tested. And that’s without even mentioning the enormous expenditures involved in conducting studies, which are often either unsuccessful or insufficient.
It seems obvious that sponsors will be interested in virtual or distant clinical trials.
The Advantages of Conducting Tests Online
The decision to carry out a clinical study in a virtual manner may bring with it a number of benefits, despite the fact that trial locations continue to be a significant and sometimes necessary component of clinical studies. These include increased participation from patients, decreased overall costs, enhanced data collection, and more empowered research teams.
Not only do virtual clinical trials save the amount of time spent traveling to trial sites, but they also offer a setting that is likely to be both safer and more pleasant for patients to receive treatment in. When clinical tests are conducted virtually, patients who have difficulty moving around have an easier time participating and have better access to the trials.
Patients who are unable to leave their homes may still take part in virtual clinical trials since they can do so from the convenience of their own houses. This makes individuals more inclined to join and also offers doctors and trial personnel better access to an expanded number of patients.
Improved Methods of Data Collection
Additionally, decentralized virtual trials make it possible for better data collecting. The need for developing reliable data management tools is only going to increase as the number of people participating in these experiments grows.
Advantages for the Research Team
Patients frequently do not consent to participate in clinical trials or withdraw from them because they are unable to manage the many facets of their participation, such as the logistics of getting to a trial location or remembering their appointments, or because they are confused about what is expected of them.
A significant proportion of research participants (15–40%) eventually withdraw from the study. The recruiting and retention of patients is also where the majority of delays occur, with anywhere from fifty percent to eighty percent of trial delays being connected to the process of identifying and maintaining individuals in the study.
Researchers’ work is made easier by the technology that supports virtual trials, which in turn benefits the researchers. Researchers no longer have to engage in laborious administrative tasks since tools such as alerts, scheduling, and reporting are at their disposal.
Taking Some of the Pressure Off of Trial Sites
Virtual trials are becoming more popular as a result of the intense rivalry for trial sites and the additional workload that late-phase studies (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34592194/) place on these sites.
When patients are allowed to remain in the comfort of their own homes throughout the duration of the trial, it is possible to collect data at times that are more convenient for the patients to incorporate into their routines, which helps ensure patient retention and compliance with the experiment.
However, in order to make the most of the advantages outlined above, it is recommended to go with a hybrid strategy, even if there will be situations in which the more conventional site-based model would still be necessary. It goes without saying that sponsors must form partnerships with CROs or technology providers in order to meet the essential need for providing support for virtual trials, which is to guarantee that patients will have no trouble using the technology and that the data collected will be reliable.
Concerns Regarding the Use of Virtual Experiments
Even while many people are touting the benefits of conducting clinical trials online, there are still several obstacles standing in the way of their widespread use. To this day, there are over 100,000 clinical research studies that have been filed in the United States, although virtual trials only make up “a minuscule proportion” of that total.
Experts are wary of a broad acceptance of virtual trials due to difficulties including a conservative business culture and more data to gather, maintain, and prove to authorities.
Concern that Modern Technology Will Fail
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Be Concerned About the Accuracy of the Data
Indeed, the “primary hesitation” in the business of virtual trials, which issues a warning that another obstacle pertains to the quality of care, is the data’s ability to maintain their integrity. The absence of doctors who interact directly with trial participants raises the possibility that trial participants may not get care that meets ideal standards.