What You Should Know about Online Clinical Trials

What You Should Know about Online Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are generally associated with in-person visits. A person will sign up for a trial and, in doing so, pledge to check in with researchers or healthcare professionals. There is usually a set number of visits scheduled, so staff can monitor the participant's progress. This is the standard formula, but like so many things in life, it's changing with the advent of better communication tools.

With more virtual capabilities than ever before, patients can now sign up for online clinical trials. We'll look at what they are, how they work, and why they're so important to the medical community.

What Is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial is a broad term that can refer to any research study that hopes to discover a new treatment. Whether it's a long-term condition or a short-term disease, the goal is to evaluate patients and determine how they're reacting to a new product. Clinical trials are how medicine advances and new solutions come to market. This could be anything from a medical device to a prescription to over-the-counter medication.

New developments in the medical field are often a lengthy and complicated process. Tolerability, indications, treatment targets, and family history all need to be taken into consideration when evaluating the real-world effects of the disease. Because everyone's body chemistry will differ based on everything from genetics to lifestyle, the data needs to be as robust as it is diverse.

What Is an Online Clinical Trial?

An online clinical trial (sometimes called a virtual clinical trial) is the latest trend in the industry. Instead of having to go into a hospital, clinic, or practitioner's office, a trial participant's progress can be assessed through virtual communication alone. Medical study kits are used to give the patient what they need to complete the trial, and then all they need to do is log into a platform to check-in with a staff member.

Why Are Online Clinical Trials Important?

The medical industry is heavily regulated, and accurate data lies at the heart of it all. When the FDA is evaluating whether to approve a product, they have to take into account the results of the clinical trials. However, there's an inherent problem with in-person clinical trials: they're limited in terms of location.

When only certain people can attend these trials, the data can end up being limited to a specific type of population. In general, the majority of clinical trials will take place in larger cities. These major metropolises affect the participant's lifestyle, which can in turn affect the results of the trial. For instance, maybe participants are exposed to more pollution, which then affects the results of a proposed respiratory treatment. It could end up halting a beneficial drug to people in more rural areas.

With online clinical trials, researchers have access to people from all walks of life. This doesn't make the treatment better or worse necessarily, it simply gives researchers the data they need to draw reasonable conclusions about whether the advantages of a certain product outweigh the risks (or vice versa) for any given population.

The Rise of Online Clinical Trials

Virtual clinical trials solve many of the scheduling concerns that may have once held people back from participating. Someone with two full-time jobs and chronic back pain may desperately want to sign up to try a new type of pain reliever but have little recourse to make multiple appointments with such a busy workload. This has ended up making data worse over the years, particularly as clinical trials have become more complex over time.

Telehealth technology makes it possible to attend study visits even in the midst of other responsibilities. A well-run online clinical trial will give the participant all the resources they need to complete the treatment regimen.

Health from Home

The pandemic brought everyone's attention to telehealth services, particularly for those with underlying health conditions. It made doctors rethink how they assessed patients and what could be done to work with people who might have extenuating circumstances.

Some people take their doctor's appointments for granted. There might be a facility nearby where they can walk or drive to meet a healthcare professional. But the reality is that many people live with limitations. They might not have a way to travel to a doctor, or they might work during the day and have limited time off.

Unsurprisingly, the medical industry is seeing a rise in online trials, largely because they realistically address these needs. This is the best way to bring in different populations from all socioeconomic backgrounds and ensure accurate data across the board.

The Benefits of Online Clinical Studies

Trial coordinators and sponsors who adopt virtual clinical research studies are simply going to get better data, which gives them a better chance of approval. Distance technology can accommodate any number of trials and opens the door for people who were once excluded from the opportunity. In addition, the less a study participant has to come to a hospital or clinic, the less illness or risk they're exposed to.

Travel participants no longer have to factor in the time needed to commute to the doctor or panic if they need to reschedule. With better virtual tools, participants have a direct connection to medical professionals. Online clinical studies are a unique chance to follow-up more frequently, get more information during each session, and present data to regulators in total confidence.

Use ClinicalConnection to Find Online Clinical Trial Opportunities

At ClinicalConnection, we are committed to helping you find relevant clinical trial opportunities. With the latest telehealth technology advances, we also offer convenient virtual clinical trials so you can participate in trials without having to visit a specific location. Become a member of ClinicalConnection today and find the right virtual clinical trial for you.