Software: improving patients’ experience in clinical trials

January 13, 2016
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Curious and innovative researchers have shaped modern-day healthcare. Resulting in radical innovation in medicine and medical technology. However, an aging population with chronic conditions continuously strains the healthcare systems. Clinical research has a vital role in the combat against that pressure.  Whether testing new drugs for safety and efficacy or, existing treatment methods on a new application. Clinical trials challenge the norms on which diseases we are able to control or cure.

The Role of the Patient

The population of today can potentially save the population of tomorrow by developing new treatment methods. As mentioned above, clinical trials are the cornerstone in bringing these new treatments to life. However, participation in clinical trials has been diminishing in Western countries like Denmark and Sweden (1)(LIF, 2015). Given the impact of clinical trials, this problem cannot be denied and needs to be addressed right away. One of the factors possibly responsible for this is the excessive time consumption of participation. This is where the solution might lie in using a data acquisition software in clinical trials, as it can have a vital role in improving the whole process of clinical trials participation. However, implementation of software in the healthcare industry should not be considered “a walk in the park”. Traditionally, the industry has an ‘introvert’ approach to software – i.e. many are not willing to push the responsibility over to patients or even involving them at all. An article in QUARTZ proclaims that healthcare professionals are technophobic when it comes to software (2).Some of the technophobic tendencies in the healthcare industry can be reasoned for. For example, the healthcare professional values the time used implementing a new software lower than the need of caring for the patient. Although the reasons might be plenty, and complicated, it should not be neglected that the individual of today, has better control of the new technology that he/she did 10 years ago. The modern individual navigates multiple technological platforms such as websites, apps, smart-interfaces etc. on a daily basis. Furthermore, during the past few years, the amount and quality of software available to clinicians have increased. Clinical researchers have the opportunity to utilize this development, and the individual's technological capabilities, in their favor.

Does software offer value to clinical research?  

Clincial software can offer multiple possibilities, improving a participants’ experience in a clinical trial. The possibility for customization and continuous development is extremely valuable in the fast-paced world of clinical research. Software might be the key to provide patient-centric feedback on data and progress, as well as improving the information flow on the importance of being compliant. Additionally, patient recruitment could be affected because of the inconvenience surrounding participation. This can be eliminated with user-friendly software. A recent study on cancer patient´s perception in clinical trials showed that 31% of the sample would participate in a clinical trial, given it did not cause them inconvenience (Cuffe et al., 2015).The modern population feeds on information flow from various social media and is used to having information at the click of a button. The social rhythm of today towards better technology should be introduced to the medical industry, increasing awareness of clinical trials. Sponsors and other clinical trial professionals could offer greater analytics to participants and collaborators and thus improve compliance (Chu, Kim, Jeong, & Park, 2015).In conclusion, the discussion above leads to two central concerns in clinical trials; How can we focus on the quality of the data gathered and how can we acquire it more efficiently? Good healthcare software shoudl be the answer to both these , starting with the patient, and his experience during the course of the trial. References & further reading.