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August 17, 2015
The future of clinical trials is as close as your smartphone
By: Ian Shafer

BYOD strategy (Bring Your Own Device) will reduce time and cost, improve accuracy for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The clinical trial process—a necessary step in bringing needed drugs to the marketplace—is expensive, slow and complex. It costs pharmaceutical companies an average of $2.5 billion to bring a new drug to market, up from $800 million in 2003, according to Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.

But technology is about to change that, and the solution is as close as your smartphone.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans own smartphones, and 62 percent have used them in the past year to look up information about a health condition, according to Pew Research Center. This convergence of personal mobile and digital devices, and users who are more engaged about their health is an opportunity for clinical trials to connect with patients wherever they are and collect a wider array of data, while laying the groundwork for virtualization of the process.

As the pharmaceutical industry continues to "pivot toward the patient" to deliver improved outcomes, technology is driving this focus downstream to the clinical development process. Smart personal mobile devices are advancing rapidly, offering great promise in their ability to improve patient engagement and enhance data collection and compliance in clinical trials. And the advance of wearable devices that can track users’ vital signs and potential clinical trial compliance in real time can only add to the accuracy and immediacy of the data compiled.

Digitally engaging patients in clinical research is the cornerstone of the evolving Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy that is poised to transform the clinical trial process.

In a feature article in the recent PharmaTimes Magazine, I offer some thought-provoking views on the future of personal devices in clinical trials.

Although the use of these devices in clinical trials is still early in adoption, potential benefits make the future of BYOD significant:

  • BYOD allows patients to comfortably interface with clinical trials as they continue their daily routines.

  • Pharmaceutical companies gain greater access to qualified patients, leading to better patient recruitment, lower attrition due to dropout, and more predictable timelines and costs.

  • Digitally gathering data at the point of patient engagement yields faster, higher quality, and potentially richer analysis.

Bring Your Own Device strategy has the potential to reduce time and cost, and improve accuracy for pharmaceutical manufacturers.​

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