Clinical research

The Future of Clinical Research Technology: Data Collection

Joe Wochna Clinical Research Trends

We live in an age when we are surrounded by technologies that are improving the speed and efficiency with which we can gather information, and the depth and breadth of that information. In the second post of this four-part series, we explore the evolution of clinical research and its impact on data collection based on insights presented by John Neal, CEO of PCRS Network.

“In my research I’ve come across dozens of different devices out there that are already being used, some of which are collecting hundreds, and in some cases literally thousands and thousands of data points per second,” Neal says.

The amount of information being collected presents its own unique challenges as well as tremendous opportunities for the clinical research industry. Neal points out that new technologies provide the ability to monitor and collect data when a study volunteer isn’t on site, and with greater accuracy and efficiency than is possible with the diaries used by volunteers. With those diaries, the volunteer — the study subject — has to take the time to sit down and record information.

“Let’s face it, in many cases their recall might not be perfect,” Neal points out. “Such manual methods of data collection will be replaced by devices that can accurately calculate, collect, and transmit that data,” Neal says. “These devices create some tremendous opportunities for us.”

These new methods of data collection are erasing the importance of distance and location in clinical research. As John points out, visits no longer need be conducted at the research site. Data can now be collected remotely without the study subject being at the research site.

“We now have the ability as an industry to collect many more data points outside of what’s going on at the site,” Neal observes.

But taking advantage of those opportunities will require overcoming basic human aversion to change. “One of the pushbacks is going to be people simply wanting to hold onto their processes,” John observes. “People are going to hold onto their processes as long as they can. It’s a job protection issue.”

But the technologies are currently available, such as and their adoption is inevitable. “Adoption of electronic records all across the board, consent forms, source docs, diaries, all of those sorts of things will become commonplace in the future, and they’re going to facilitate efficiencies in the industry,” Neal adds.

In our third post in the series we will look at the process of site selection.

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ICYMI (In case you missed it)!

The first post in this four-part series: The Future of Clinical Research Technology: Introduction.