Clinical Trials: What Will Change in 2021?

Clinical Trials: What Will Change in 2021

The very first clinical trial was performed in 1747 when 12 sailors with scurvy were divided up and given one of six agents after spending two whole months out on the sea. The results of that one trial helped prove that fruit could help get sailors back to action. Since that one point in history, millions of clinical trials have been performed, and the research efforts have grown more efficient, sophisticated, and effective.

Every year, medical professionals pull what they've learned from the prior year into the new year. Last year's pandemic and all the ways it shaped medicine has yielded a lot of insight for sure. As we move into 2021 clinical trials, there are bound to be some major changes. Here is a closer look at some of those changes to expect.

1. Better Access to Existing Clinical Trials Will Encourage Participation

According to information from Applied Clinical Trials, 2021 is anticipated to be the year that sees profound improvement in clinical trial participation. Technology, such as telemedicine, makes it possible for study participants to be recruited right from their homes or where they are instead of those prospects having to travel.

This decentralized approach allows researchers to expand their scope to gather patients from a wider geographical area. However, one of the most pertinent changes is how quickly participants can be enlisted in the recruitment phases of a trial. The National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that by using this decentralized approach, organizers were able to recruit patients as much as three times faster than usual.

2. More Use of Remote Monitoring Will Simplify Analytical Processes

Keeping tabs on a broad collection of study participants has always been somewhat of a challenge for clinical trial organizers. The more participants involved in a research effort, the more costly it can be to consistently bring them to a physical location to check their progress. Remote monitoring technology has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years, especially amid the pandemic with more of a need for social distancing.

This innovative technology leads to more simplified, affordable participant monitoring during clinical trials. For example, participants in a sleep study could easily wear a sleep monitor that tracks their sleep patterns and then feeds that information to an analytical data platform used for the trial. In addition, digital monitoring allows study participants to deliver data in their own natural lives instead of a clinical setting.

3. Diversity Will Be an Important Forethought in Most Clinical Trials

Many events have demanded everyone to take a closer look at the gaps between how people can be treated from different sectors of the population. As society focuses much more attention on social injustices in recent times, diversity grows to be a much more prevalent thought in the planning of clinical trials. While collecting data from a diverse study group has always been important, 2021 clinical trials are bound to be built around ideas of equality more so than ever.

4. Clinical Trials Will Have Profound Efficiency and Effectiveness

Between 2019 and 2020, nearly 32,000 clinical trials were registered. Between 2020 and 2021, that number rose to more than 36,000. Already a few months into 2021, and numbers are starting to show an even bigger number of clinical trials for the coming year.

The sharp rise in numbers can be attributed to a few actors, including:

  • Rising numbers of trials in lieu of the pandemic
  • Greater access to digital or remote technology
  • More trial completions thanks to greater patient retention during trials

As establishing and carrying out clinical trials gets easier due to the many new tools available, more research can be done in an efficient, effective fashion. For example, because trials don't have to be restricted to a specific location, participants can be gathered more rapidly from a more diverse population. With remote monitoring more acceptable, study participants are less likely to find a trial is interrupting their life and drop out. Therefore, the research effort can go from start to finish with few major issues involved.

Get Involved In the Most Innovative Clinical Research Efforts

In many ways, COVID-19 brought hardships to the medical community in 2020. However, we all also learned a great deal about what could be achieved under pressure and in the most unusual circumstances. With that said, the gleaned knowledge is bound to bring some advantageous changes to 2021 clinical trials. If you would like to stay in tune with up-and-coming clinical trial information, consider signing up as a member with Clinical Connection for free.