The Impact of Decentralized Clinical Trials: for the industry and its participants


Clinical research trials are the cornerstone for developing new tests and treatments. The results and impacts of these trials can range from helping a person manage day-to-day discomfort all the way to life saving medications. Clinical trials play the important role of helping determine the impact of medical interventions.
Running a clinical trial is no simple task. Because human subjects are involved, care must be given at every step of the process. There are a number of challenges when it comes to participation. Limiting factors such as lack of transportation, or cost associated with transportation, for example, are a common hurdle cited by patients and caregivers who are willing to participate. Lack of flexibility with work schedules or limited options for child care also make participation unobtainable for some. These challenges became more exacerbated during COVID-19 as lockdown rules prohibited travel, including to clinical trial sites. 
These rules are one of the reasons decentralized clinical trials (DCT) are becoming front and center. DCT existed before the pandemic but the pandemic catalyzed their wide-scale adoption.  According to Shawn Tedman, vice president of biopharma innovation at ixlayer, there is an increasing interest in technology for DCT. “I’ve been on the edges of decentralized clinical trial technology for the past 8-10 years and it’s moved at a glacial pace,” Tedman said. “COVID opened the floodgates and they aren’t going to be closed any time soon.”
More researchers are looking at decentralization of clinical trials as a go-forward solution. Some of the benefits of decentralized clinical trials include more flexibility and improved patient recruitment and retention. With an estimated 70% of potential clinical trial patients located more than two hours away from trial sites 1, DCTs can remove this barrier. DCTs extend research to a diverse patient pool and in many cases facilitate real-time communication with patients. With a 98% patient satisfaction rate in telemedicine2, it’s no surprise that 76% of researchers implemented decentralized approaches during the COVID-19 pandemic3. Clearly technology is playing a huge role in the adoption of DCT.

You can read more about DCTs and their potential impact on the biopharma industry and clinical trial participants in today’s article in Digital Health Business & Technology written by Gabe Perna, featuring ixlayer’s Shawn Tedman: Can decentralized clinical trial technology reach its potential?