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Market Opportunity for IoT in Clinical Trials

4 minute read

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way our healthcare industry operates. We have seen an acceleration of technology become the driving force for this crucial field. While healthcare companies, such as pharmaceutical businesses, have utilized decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) before COVID-19, the pandemic has significantly advanced the use of DCTs.

Two decades of swift technology changes can make a world of a difference in the connected health space. According to data published by Statista, there were approximately 366,000 clinical studies registered globally as of February 2021 – up from only 2,119 registrations in the year 2000.

A portion of this slow growth over the past couple of decades can be attributed to the complex process of deploying IoT initiatives to patients across the globe. But IoT in clinical trials is increasingly becoming a higher viable solution to bridge the gap between intricate issues and resilient solutions.

What are Decentralized Clinical Trials?

Essentially, DCTs are a way to reduce and/or eliminate unnecessary site visits for patients, resulting in more efficient and cost-effective operations for the health provider. Because of this, DCTs promote broader patient recruitment and reduce drop-out rates. This is accomplished through virtual collaboration between researchers, providers, and patients.

What is IoT in Clinical Trials?

DCTs are accomplished through the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Patients can use medical-grade wearable technology, such as smartwatches and tablets, to monitor health metrics in real-time. IoT in clinical trials also allows providers to offer telemedicine, mobile healthcare treatment options, and remote-patient monitoring. These IoT solutions allow data collection to become more streamlined and cost-effective during clinical trials.

There are two two types of connected health devices that IoT plays a part in: consumer-grade health monitoring devices and medical-grade wearable technology. The two have similar motives but use different connectivity.

  1. Consumer-grade health monitoring devices include products such as smartwatches or pendants that connect via Bluetooth to the user’s nearby mobile device. These types of solutions are generally found in IoT-enabled mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems.
  2. Medical grade wearables, such as portable insulin pumps may use cellular connectivity, Bluetooth, or other wireless protocols to channel data.

The Benefits of IoT in DCTs

IoT in clinical trials bring many benefits to the table when analyzing data collection, patient engagement, and patient recruitment. A Mobile Health in Clinical Trials Survey Report conducted by SCORR Marketing and Applied Clinical Trials found that 35.2 percent of respondents reported improved data quality, 28.5 percent reported improved patient engagement, and 12.3 percent reported improvement in patient recruitment. Overall, 80 percent of respondents believe that mobile health (mHealth) technology is still in its early stages. Finally, 79 percent also believe that mobile devices monitoring specific disease-related conditions would be the most effective using mHealth.

IoT plays a part in two types of decentralized clinical trials: hybrid and virtual. So, what do these experiences look like to the provider and patient and how do they benefit the healthcare industry?

Like the name suggests, a hybrid approach includes elements of both traditional in-person site visits and virtual appointments. A major difference in the hybrid approach versus a fully “conventional” site visit is the use of connected mobile devices for data analysis. Consumer-grade health monitoring devices and medical-grade wearables make securely transmitting this important information to medical providers possible.

The 100 percent virtual approach, also known as DCTs, also use wearable technology to leverage patient data. From recruitment and prescreening to follow-up appointments, this model is becoming more customary since the COVID-19 pandemic.

How IoT Providers Make It Simple

IoT in clinical trials is crucial in delivering resilient network management and wireless connectivity for healthcare providers – and KORE aims to provide just that. We offer comprehensive solutions and services such as mobile device management (MDM), end-to-end project management and we specialize in managed services for DCTs. KORE works with leading CROs and pharmaceutical companies to streamline the process of sourcing and collecting data.

To learn more about IoT in clinical trials, download our eBook, “Roadmap to Decentralized Clinical Trials”.

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