By Michael Smyth, Division President and Corporate VP, TransPerfect Life Sciences Solutions
The world has seemingly changed overnight. We are living in a historical moment, thanks to a microscopic foe known as COVID-19. As you are reading this, you are likely working remotely, and you may—or may not!—be anxiously waiting to get back into the office once “normal” operations resume. Or, you might be one of the brave people on the front lines, trying to keep the earth rotating on its axis while the rest of us hunker down.
Our medical professionals, particularly those in hospitals, had to adjust overnight to a new way of supporting the welfare of patients. Established pandemic protocols were dusted off, detailing the proper usage of masks and gloves—both of which quickly ran into low supply across the world—and how to prioritize in-facility patient treatment. These healthcare professionals also had to move swiftly into a virtual method for patient care, spending long hours on telemedicine shifts and finding creative ways to evaluate, and eventually treat, patients from their homes.
The clinical research industry has dabbled in the virtual space for some time now, cherry-picking low-priority studies to test artificial intelligence platforms and home healthcare nursing options. Our protocols are still designed around traditional, in-office visit expectations and methods for data collection and query resolution. But today we find ourselves squarely facing the impossibility of continuing as we always have—as with the front-line healthcare professionals, we have to adapt immediately to a virtual environment to protect the well-being of research subjects.