Internal Medicine

Decentralized approaches, digital innovations may lead to better recruitment for clinical trials

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More effective participant recruitment in clinical trials, according to a new study that suggests that decentralized trials, coupled with digital innovations, hold significant potential in addressing this challenge.

This article discusses the challenges of participant recruitment in clinical trials and highlights the potential of decentralized clinical trials as a solution. The information is based on recent literature and the experience of conducting a large industry-sponsored trial using both traditional and decentralized methods.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Sub-optimal Participant Recruitment: Traditional methods of recruiting participants for clinical trials often fall short of optimal levels.
  2. Potential of Decentralized Trials: Decentralized clinical trials show promise in overcoming recruitment challenges typically seen in site-based trials.
  3. Efficiency is Crucial: Efficient delivery of clinical trials is vital for timely and cost-effective therapeutic advancements.
  4. Evolution of Trial Designs: Clinical trial designs are continuously evolving to ensure effective delivery, manage the complexity of new therapeutic approaches, and adapt to cultural changes.
  5. Digital Innovation in Decentralized Trials: Utilizing digital innovations in decentralized trials can potentially improve recruitment and retention rates. This approach allows for remote access to clinical research, which may enhance geographical diversity and reduce participant burden.
  6. Development Areas:
    • Recruitment Platform: There is a discussion about creating a ‘recruitment platform’ leveraging digital connectivity to broaden participant reach.
    • Automated Participant Identification: Exploring the use of technology to automatically identify eligible participants from volunteer pools.
    • Remote Interaction Technology: Employing technology for remote interactions with participants.
    • Logistical Processes: Investigating the logistical aspects of delivering interventions in decentralized trials.
  7. Focus on Widening Participation and Reducing Inequalities: It’s imperative that the development efforts in decentralized trials aim to have a positive impact on broadening participation in clinical research and reducing healthcare inequalities.

Ng CE, Bowman S, Ling J, et al. The future of clinical trials-is it virtual? Br Med Bull. 2023:ldad022. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldad022. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37681298.