By Jimmy El Hokayem, Ph.D.
Next to cost, patient recruitment, enrollment, and retention are top concerns for sponsors, sites, and others involved in clinical trials.
Will virtual clinical trials ease these challenges and reduce the 90% failure rate? Not yet.
What do we mean by virtual clinical trials?
Virtual clinical trials, or siteless clinical trials, use videoconferencing, wearable technology, mobile apps, and similar tools to solve patient-related challenges. Instead of driving to a site multiple times during a study, patients can send and receive information and medications remotely. They can get screened or chat with their study team via phone or video and complete surveys using an app.
When used successfully, the virtual clinical trial model promises to enroll more patients faster, improve patient retention, and reduce costs. It also gives patients a way to participate when they may not have the time or means to visit a physical site.
For all their perceived advantages, a virtual model doesn’t suit all studies. In fact, a start-to-finish siteless model only works in limited situations.
Read some challenges of virtual trials as well as when they do and do not work.