Clinical Trials > Digital Technologies Improve Clinical Trial Recruitment

Digital Technologies Improve Clinical Trial Recruitment

By Carrie Printz Illustration by Federico Gastaldi

MOST NEW DRUGS can’t be approved without hundreds of people participating in studies known as clinical trials to prove their effectiveness. Unfortunately, more than half of clinical trials are unable to recruit or retain enough participants.

When clinical trials can’t move forward because of a lack of participants, important medicine development is delayed. At the same time, if diverse groups can’t participate, health disparities worsen.

But there’s a solution at hand. Digital technologies are improving access to studies while also making them more inclusive for underrepresented groups who often face participation barriers.

A Mayo Clinic Proceedings review published in 2023 examined how new digital technologies like electronic health records, online patient portals and remote patient monitoring are improving clinical trial participation.

Electronic health records help to rapidly identify people who are eligible for a trial. They also track how participants are doing, reducing the number of follow-up appointments needed. As more people acquire smartphones and smartwatches, many can participate in clinical trials remotely without having to travel long distances to a research facility.

Researchers recognize some limitations to these technologies and say there is no one-size-fits-all approach. For example, they may exclude older, less tech-savvy participants. That’s why scientists call for hybrid trials, in which digital elements like a mobile app are combined with in-person visits.

Source: Discovery's Edge

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