The pharma industry sits on the forefront of scientific discovery. Pharma professionals do crucial work that can improve the lives of millions of people. Today, a good portion of that work relies on emerging digital technologies.
“Many clinical trials were impacted negatively by the pandemic because patients were either not comfortable traveling to appointments or clinical trial staff weren’t comfortable seeing patients in person. As a result, we have seen more research and development into smart device application development,” explains Krista Zielinski, Executive Director of Green Key Pharma.
Here are three ways digital tech is paving the future of clinical trials in pharma.
1. Mobile technologies
The Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) defines mobile technologies as mobile applications and other portable technologies that contain sensors to remotely capture outcomes data.
“Mobile technology (smartphone applications, wearable devices, telehealth) offers an opportunity to enhance the efficiency and reach of clinical trials processes, including remote consenting, evaluation of interventions, and collection of outcome data,” says Lindsey Summers, Director of Pharmaceutical Consulting at Green Key.
In early 2020, the CTTI detailed several recommendations for dealing with data collection from mobile technologies. These include:
- Designing technologies using evidence-based principles
- Collecting the appropriate dataset for the purpose of the study
- Optimizing data collection, including trial design as well as strategies for monitoring data to minimize technology-related causes of missing data
- Developing processes for analysis of data captured through mobile technologies
- Establishing common standards for acceptance of mobile technologies and data capture
As the need for these technologies continues to grow, pharma companies will seek to hire tech professionals to assist in data design, capture, and analysis.
2. Digital patient recruitment
Even before the pandemic, around 53% of patients learned about clinical trials online, according to a national clinical research poll conducted in 2013.
The events of the past year have shed even more light on the importance of digital methods for patient recruitment and retention.
“Placing digital patient outreach ads on search engines and social media can help sponsors and contract research organizations recruit patients who are active, engaged and already looking for treatment options,” writes Bruce Gould for PatientCentra.
As a result, pharma companies may branch out into the digital marketing space, particularly to enlist the expertise of digital content strategists and social media marketers.
3. Electronic health records
Patient recruitment is only the first stage of the conducting a clinical trial. For a trial to be successful, patients must successfully enroll and stay for its duration.
Today, clinical researchers can prioritize patients’ convenience and minimize the potential for dropout with the help of electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs can improve enrollment and retention by streamlining the patient data collection process.
EHRs are real-time records of a patient’s medical history, including diagnoses, medications, immunizations, and lab results. Because of the way EHR systems are built, they naturally automate the provider workflow, which is a common cause for delays in patient enrollment.
“The EHR is a preferred messaging channel by doctors,” write Kaitlyn Clark and Anika Patel for the Pharma Voice. “78% of providers prefer that pharmaceutical and healthcare companies send product updates to their office via EHR.”
Ready to bring your knowledge of digital tech to pharma?
With the adoption of digital tools and technologies, comes a need for new talent in the pharmaceutical industry. And where there is talent, there is Green Key Pharma.
Placing talented individuals is imperative to the success of research and development in the pharma industry. Our recruiters have a proven track record of client and candidate success, making us the best partner to help you develop in your career and grow your teams.
If you are a job seeker interested in working at the intersection of medicine and data, check out these job openings in pharma: