Technology continues to advance at almost breakneck speeds. Not only are these advancements surpassing anything we could have imagined just 10 or 20 years ago, they are touching every professional field, including Life Sciences. More advanced computers, displays, and software programs are replacing paper, cards, files, and binders in libraries, banks, and professional offices around the world. Yet despite a clear need and desire to move in a paperless direction, clinical trials still lag far behind other highly regulated industries.
For most tasks, there is no question the electronic method of input is preferred over paper. This doesn’t apply to just casual interactions on social media, like reconnecting with old friends via Facebook or viewing photos of far-flung grandchildren on Pinterest or Instagram. We do our banking online. We shop online. And we transmit highly private and sensitive data over the internet all the time. If visiting a doctor’s office or applying for a job, would you prefer they hand you a stack of forms to fill out, or sit you in front of a terminal where you can electronically enter the information?
You would think this ease and comfort with technology in our private lives would seamlessly transfer over to the professional space. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Some have argued there are multiple factors at play here: processes mired in multi-vendor complications, employee comfort with new technologies, a lack of understanding (or interpretation) when it comes to regulation and guidelines, and of course the dreaded specter of cost. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way, especially with respect to Study Start Up and Trial Master File storage.