Customer Engagement Europe 2023

Nov 9, 2023 - Nov 10, 2023,

Deliver enduring behaviour change with agile, personalised engagement

How to boost technology-driven decentralization in clinical trials

Techniques that pharmaceutical companies can implement to be more effective in collecting non-traditional data and have a more complete view of a drug’s performance in clinical trials

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the integration of technologies to collect non-traditional data in clinical trials. Industry-wide interest in technology-driven, non-traditional data collection is unlikely to abate anytime soon, and so pharma companies need to adjust accordingly.  


Actionable Insights:   

  • There is an industry-wide drive to embrace technology in clinical trial data collection: Many pharma companies still find that going digital in studies is challenging to implement, making non-traditional data inaccessible 
  • Technology use in clinical trials typically hinges on digital devices, virtual support and wearable devices: Meanwhile, use of natural language processing, virtual and augmented reality and computer vision is yet to take off 
  • To execute a hybrid clinical trial, pharma companies should consider working with a technology service provider: Can assist with overcoming implementation obstacles, as well as atypical clinical trial sites such as pharmacies to reach patients in more locations  


Reuters Events surveyed over 300 industry professionals worldwide on the topic of digital technologies in clinical research. Results show that, in the next five years, most respondents anticipate the use of non-traditional data to bolster a drug’s safety and efficacy profile will be very prevalent (55%) or somewhat prevalent (40%). Currently, the use of such data is only somewhat prevalent according to most respondents (55%), with 24% noting non-traditional data is not prevalent at all. While the survey was done in March 2021, results are still relevant today as interest on clinical trial decentralization is unlikely to wane anytime soon. 

According to the survey, 51% of respondents indicate that digital devices are the most widely used form of technology for collecting non-traditional clinical trial data. Virtual support (37%), wearable devices (36%), a common data platform (35%), predictive analytics (29%) and machine learning (27%) also have notable uptake. On the other hand, natural language processing (14%), virtual or augmented reality (8%) and computer vision (8%) are less common.  

While there is interest in digitalization, 52% of respondents noted that adapting to digital and remote technology for use in clinical trials is a key challenge, followed by speed of trial recruitment (44%) and access to non-traditional data (39%). But overcoming technology-related issues are worth addressing as it comes with high rewards. The adoption of technology in cell and gene therapy trials has caused non-traditional data points per patient to increase exponentially, noted ASC Therapeutics’ Oscar Segurado. 

Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is sector-wide interest in continuing to use fully virtual, distance care or hybrid interactions. Technology can offset the practical challenges of running clinical trials that typically revolve around physical sites. Decentralization increases access to clinical trials for patients unable or unwilling to travel to trial sites.  

Hybrid care is an increasing reality. As an example, Medable and CVS Health have a partnership that combines Medable’s decentralized and hybrid clinical trial platform with the extensive reach of CVS Health’s physical pharmacies.  

Alison Holland, Head of Decentralized Trials at Medable explained how hybrid care can lead to better patient-centricity. For instance, in cancer trials, patients should have the option to either continue care on-site or at home, depending on the protocol. Flexibility is critical for these patients, especially if it improves their quality of life.  

Forming partnerships with technology providers enables pharma companies to implement technologies to support data capture as well as overcome logistical challenges. Pharma companies should prioritize partnerships based on how the technology aligns with clinical trial processes to ensure ease of implementation. With an increase in data volume, study sponsors will also need to invest in technologies that allow effective and timely data analysis. 

Collaboration among pharma organizations to harness technology in clinical trials allows effective data use. As an example, TransCelerate BioPharma and Decentralized Trials Research Alliance (DTRA) are working together to engage regulators, industry innovators, and technology providers to boost decentralization in trials. Alliances facilitate an environment for standardization initiatives. Standards allow easier and broader access to information that is historically hard to obtain, as well as driving changes that will improve the overall clinical trial process.  


Industry Experts Who Contributed:  

All contributors are senior leaders within the pharmaceutical industry 

  • Dr Oscar Segurado, CMO, ASC Therapeutics 
  • James Chennells, Head Clinical Trial Technology Strategy, Bayer 
  • Alison Holland, Executive General Manager, Digital and Decentralized Solutions, Medable 
  • Daniel Carchedi, Senior Director, Business Development and Strategy, Health and Life Sciences, Microsoft 
  • Dave Meyers, National Director, US Life Sciences Industry, Microsoft 
  • Bharathwaj Rajagopal, General Manager, US Pharma and Life Sciences Leader, Microsoft 
  • Elizabeth Moench, Founder, MediciGroup 
  • Craig Lipset, Founder and Advisor, Clinical Innovation Partners 

Customer Engagement Europe 2023

Nov 9, 2023 - Nov 10, 2023,

Deliver enduring behaviour change with agile, personalised engagement