Data analytics can help make clinical trials more efficient, cost-effective, and patient-centric.
The cost of developing a single drug is estimated to be at least $2.6 billion, and clinical trials make up a substantial portion of this tab. Clinical research is often expensive and time-consuming, but harnessing the power of patient data can help sponsors and CROs minimize delays and increase operational efficiencies.
The average clinical trial generates up to three million data points, but much of this data remains siloed and inaccessible. By incorporating data monitoring and analytics into every aspect of clinical research — from patient recruitment all the way through reporting — sponsors and CROs can boost enrollment and create a more positive experience for patients. These improvements will, in turn, lead to lower costs and quicker publishing times.
Using Data to Build Patient-Centric Clinical Trials
Data can improve trial design in a variety of ways, from identifying compliance issues to streamlining patient enrollment. For instance, many trials allow patients to fill out screening forms online in advance, but end up asking the patients many of the same questions again when they arrive at the investigator site. This makes the study seem disorganized, as well as inconsiderate of patients’ valuable time.
This inconvenience is especially concerning considering that dropout rates for clinical trials are often over 30%. Fortunately, by integrating patient data into a platform that is accessible to all relevant parties — including on-site researchers — sponsors can save patients time and enhance their overall experience. More often than not, improved patient satisfaction leads to higher retention rates and fewer trial delays.
Sponsors and CROs can also use digital tools to mine data generated by previous trials when designing their own studies. This allows them to examine important details like common side effects and safety concerns so they can avoid similar problems in the future. By going through — and learning from — relevant data from multiple studies, researchers can draw important conclusions and implement nuanced guidelines in a way that wouldn't otherwise be possible.
The Role of Data in Digital Marketing
Data also plays an important role in helping sponsors and CROs recruit new patients. Analytics tools can comb through electronic medical records to identify eligible patient groups quickly and efficiently. Afters selecting the individuals who meet the trial’s inclusion and exclusion criteria, sponsors and CROs can create awareness for patients through search and social media platforms. This approach compresses recruitment timelines and increases efficiency, as well as cost-benefits, by allowing marketers to serve content exclusively to groups that are likely to be interested and engaged.
Sponsors and CROs can also utilize consumer data and performance tracking tools to hone their digital marketing strategies. For instance, trials can integrate data drawn from multiple channels using Google Analytics, allowing them to pinpoint both strong and weak points in the patient journey. This provides a clear sense of which platforms or specific campaigns are leading to the most conversions, enabling sponsors and CROs to boost their overall ROI.
Data is already revolutionizing industries like retail and manufacturing, and it can do the same for healthcare, provided leaders in the field take advantage of the opportunity. The right digital tools can make all the difference for clinical research — now it’s time for sponsors and CROs to invest in the technologies they need to facilitate more efficient, more cost-effective, and more patient-centric trials.