Although the benefits of virtual clinical trials can’t be overemphasized, challenges exist, which may slow their adoption. Currently, conducting virtual clinical trials make up an extremely small fraction of over thousands of registered US-based clinical research studies.
Plus, industry experts are cautious of the complete adoption of virtual trials with issues like pervasive conservative corporate culture and higher amounts of data to gather, administer, and prove reliability to regulators.
Here’s our EDC clinical trial software expert expanding on some of the main challenges of conducting virtual clinical trials:
Conservative in approach
Initial approaches to virtual clinical trials were quite conservative. Most sponsor companies didn’t want to jump into this initiative until they were fully assured of the data being trustworthy.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the rush to virtual settings and corresponding advances in data security and collection increased interest in virtual clinical trials.
Concerns about data accuracy
Integrity is one of the biggest challenges that the virtual trials industry faces. Moreover, the standard of care is another challenge. If clinicians stop dealing with patients in person, the trial patients may not receive the best standards of treatment.
Fear of failure
There’s also the challenge of ensuring the required technology works as it should. For the data to be meaningful, sensors used to measure blood levels or heart rates need to be working perfectly. If there’s no technician present to monitor the equipment, there’s an increased risk that it won’t operate to the best of its ability.
Some other challenges of virtual clinical trials include:
- Lack of knowledge about technology and lower medical literacy
- Trials conducted in unsterile environments may cause ailments and discrepancies
- Mishandling of medical supplies and gadgets may cause aberration in the results
With the trend of virtual clinical trials fully in place, pharma companies partnering with agile MedTech firms will gain a competitive edge. In fact, 2022 is expected to witness 1,300 new clinical trials, either with a virtual component or decentralized, around the world. This is an increase of 28% over 2021. Virtual trials will likely grow in number as their challenges are addressed one by one.
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