COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of new decentralized clinical trial operating models and revealed the need to make studies more patient-centric. The industry is now maturing practices adopted during the pandemic into a more digital, connected model for clinical trials in the future.

This survey report details insights from more than 280 clinical leaders worldwide on the industry’s progress toward digital trial strategies, lessons learned, and what lies ahead.

Read on for a snapshot of the findings.

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Rapid Adoption of Decentralized Trials

Key Finding: Sponsors and CROs are accelerating digital transformation to address operational challenges with decentralized trials.

eClinical Applications Used to Manage Decentralized Trials

To enable remote trial execution, sponsors and CROs added four new function-specific solutions to their existing clinical landscape, and more than one-quarter (27%) added five or more applications, increasing the impact of a fragmented technology landscape.

Plans to Adopt Digital Trial Technologies in the Future

Investment in emerging digital trial technologies will continue, as 32% say they plan to adopt eReg / eISF for their sites within the next 12 months, followed by eConsent (31%), and eSource (27%).

Barriers to Patient- and Site-Centric Trials

Nearly all sponsors and CROs (99%) report significant challenges with decentralized trials.

Clinical leaders noted multiple, compounding issues:

Sites are burdened by too many technologies; we need to make it simpler for them… and use fewer technologies.

Decentralized trials introduce more technology, processes, and burden for the site. We need to provide a helping hand, a white-glove approach to help them with efficient execution.

Benefits of Decentralized Trials

Only 56% say the move to decentralized trials has had a positive impact on patient convenience and retention, and less than a third saw improved site engagement, reduced costs, and shortened trial timelines.

Advancing the Move to Digital Trials

Nearly all respondents (95%) are working to establish a unified digital trial foundation that will improve information sharing and collaboration across stakeholders, better support sites, and eliminate silos through a connected ecosystem.

Sponsors and CROs suggested ways to convert siloed systems and processes into a comprehensive digital trial strategy:

It is essential to evaluate the relative merits of technologies but aim to use fewer applications with better connections between them.

Critically evaluate solutions that optimize the sponsor, investigator, and patient experience.

Better Trials Through a Connected Ecosystem

A holistic end-to-end digital framework for clinical trials promises to meet the diverse needs of patients, sites, sponsors, and CROs, strengthens the connections between them, and reduces trial costs and timelines. As the industry progresses toward a more digital and connected way of operating, clinical trials will become more innovative, better serve patients, and speed their access to medical breakthroughs.

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