After a long wait, some clinical research enterprise experts are seeing a shift in how technology is used at the site level. In the past, technology was mostly used to record data and focused on sponsors, says Anne Zielinski, vice president for technology alliances at Bioclinica. “That was the situation for more than a decade” going way back to the days of Palm Pilots, she notes.
“We’re finally getting to the point where sites are getting attention and technologies are being developed with the sites in mind,” Zielinski adds.
One example: increasing use of ebinders in which all documents in a trial are stored electronically. “That doesn’t sound terrifically revolutionary except if you go to a site and you look at the paper” today, it clearly is a big deal, Zielinski says.
It’s all part of a macro movement where the focus on technology utilization is more about the patient. “We’re seeing patients are demanding that technologies and providers across many different industries are responsive to the individual,” Zielinski explains. Citing the explosion is apps and wearable technology, she’s seen patients putting pressure on clinical trial practitioners to leverage the latest tools.
Industry is still at the early adoption phase, Zielinski stresses: “It’s early days.”
There’s another big challenge for sites. Who pays? Site leaders get their trial budgets from sponsors, but generally don’t have any extra room in there to buy new electronic bells and whistles, Zielinski says. Sites should make the business case to the sponsor, she advises. “I think there’s a rosy outlook for sites,” she stresses.
Zielinski will be part of a June ACRP Clinical Trial Insights podcast on the increasing role of technology at the investigator site level.
Author: Michael Causey