Like most other industries in 2018, clinical research organizations (CROs) are being heavily influenced by technological advances. Not only are they using advanced technology to make groundbreaking medical discoveries, but CROs are also embracing technology to help them hire, source equipment, analyze data, and improve their general ‘behind-the-scenes’ processes. Today, many consumer-driven products have influenced the adoption of these technologies. Here are 3 emerging technologies that are changing the way CROs operate.
1. Big Medical Data Aggregators + Clinical Recruitment
There has been much debate about the use of technology in aggregating data.
Apple recently released an iOS framework to assist in finding clinical research participants who meet the requirements and needs of each clinical trial. This is the first major kick-off into building a reliable infrastructure of clinical participants and their medical data. Shortly after the Apple announcement, the race to find technology for clinical recruitment has started to heat up. The most recent is TrialMatch, a platform that automates the matching of its users to relevant clinical trials.
According to co-founder, Brian Clark,
“We scan your entire medical record and we’ll say do you match all the inclusionary criteria and do you not match all of the exclusion criteria… Or you say ‘I want to get it for my neck cancer’, we’ll run it for that specifically, and then we’ll send you any matches that you get that already exist. Or when a new clinical trial comes about we’ll automatically notify you of the new one.”
Another up-and-coming platform, StudyKik, also uses technology to connect participant volunteers and clinical trial companies depending on the needs of the trial. There is no silver bullet to finding trial participants, but technology companies are lifting the burden of sourcing, and potentially could incorporate artificial intelligence to do so as well!
2. Wearable and Mobile Technology
Wearables aren’t new to CROs. What is new is the improved accuracy levels of wearable technologies. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health lists the number of CROs using wearables at 299. This number will grow as many tech companies are releasing wearable technology for research.
Wearable devices increase the accuracy of data. Relying on patient memory for correct data opens the door for inaccurate reporting, but wearable technologies can yield more reliable results. FitBit, Apple Watches, and more advanced technologies are helping CROs track and monitor the data collected from the patient’s activity levels, sleep patterns, and even their brain waves, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Google, who has partnered with Novartis, is making a clinical-grade wearable “smart lens” device. Technology innovators are partnering with leading pharma companies in a race to create data-driven wearable devices, making the market more competitive and, in turn, beneficial to CROs. The possibilities for this futuristic technology are mind-boggling and seemingly, just on the horizon.
3. More Efficient Equipment Sourcing for Trials
Sourcing equipment for CROs has always been cumbersome. There are multiple consumer-driven online marketplaces to purchase goods (Amazon, Etsy, Overstock.com, etc.), but the B2B world is slow to adopt these strategies. You can always purchase equipment through vendors, but what if you only need to rent? If a clinical trial has a certain lifespan, purchasing expensive equipment is often not be the best option. Current technology allows for secure transactions between parties on a global scale. Suppliers who have rental inventory can connect to renters through a new online platform recently introduced by KWIPPED.
KWIPPED, launched in late 2014, is a comprehensive marketplace for equipment rentals. The KWIPPED technology automates billing, rental coordination, insurance, and shipping execution. For the first time, CROs have access to a global marketplace of suppliers who rent the type of equipment they need.
KWIPPED created a marketplace-based platform which allows CROs to submit one request for quotes (RFQ) for the equipment they need, and shoots their request out to the hundreds of suppliers on KWIPPED’s platform that rent or lease that specific piece of equipment. Within 24 hours, the suppliers then return quotes to the renter, make recommendations and ask questions through KWIPPED’s messaging platform, and make adjustments based on the renter’s needs. This allows CROs to compare quotes to get the equipment they need for the best possible price and terms!
All in all, CROs will benefit from using these emerging technologies, as their competitors who don’t embrace technology will eventually get left behind.
Which is your favorite piece of emerging tech? Let us know in the comments!
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