Mobile clinical trials clearly have indisputable advantages over paper-based trials. Why is it then, despite the long-term cost savings and convenience of real-time data that there a large percentage of trials are still being run on paper? While it dazzles many of us, the Clinical Trails Transformation Initiative (CTTI) group is actively looking for answers through their CTTI mobile technologies initiative.
Mobile technologies can be utilized in nearly all aspects of clinical research, such as patient recruitment, data collection, symptom monitoring and health management to name a few. As an Electronic Data Capture (EDC) Systems provider, we have been involved in the data collection aspect specifically, collecting the data via electronic Patient Reported Outcome (ePRO) instruments and mobile devices for over a decade now.
It has been our experience that although the technology is sound and has a proven track record, the adoption of EDC and ePRO in clinical research has been slower than anticipated for one main reason. Many organisations think they have an effective paper-based method and are passing up the benefits of real-time data and everything that comes with it, including easier patient management, faster resolution of any potential issues in the trial, increased patient safety if symptoms are monitored, and even lower cost due to reduced staff hours and no need for data transcription utilizing ePRO. The most prominent barriers to adoption of mobile technologies in clinical research nowadays seem to be that of habit, fear of the unknown and the perceived minimization of risk by utilizing an old technique.
It is unlikely that the current barriers to EDC and ePRO adoption will remain prominent for much longer, as the world-wide adoption of mobile devices is rapidly growing and our habits are changing in such a way that we are inseparable from our mobile devices. It is only a matter of time before paper becomes obsolete and data collection via mobile devices the norm.
It is our belief that the CTTI initiative will shed some light into the underlying reasons for slow mobile adoption in clinical trials, and will provide a number of regulatory, legal and technical guidelines that will standardize and facilitate mobile technology use in clinical research.