Clinical Research: The Future of Medicine Stuck in the Digital Past

Elizabeth Del Mastro Benincasa*

Clinical Research: The Future of Medicine Stuck in the Digital Past. The past eight years I’ve spent working at clinical research sites have been gratifying in countless ways. From seeing direct patient improvement as a result of their involvement in a trial to learning about Food and Drug Administration approval of a therapy on which we’ve conducted trials, the observable outcomes of contributing to the forefront of scientific knowledge are continuously rewarding.

However, despite tangible medical field advances, day-to-day operations are often performed in an antiquated fashion. In this article, I highlight four outdated and inefficient methods still utilized in common clinical trial operations and offer suggestions for updated digital replacements.

If sites could digitally mark when lab kits are used or about to expire, and transmit this information directly to the sponsor, CRO, or central lab, it would ensure that sufficient inventory
is available on site. Similarly, for retention items and other materials, electronic tracking would eliminate the need for manual reordering and automatically prompt resupply of necessary items. An
additional advantage is that the sponsor or CRO would be able to
minimize oversupply and only provide the research site with necessary and usable stock thereby eliminating the expensive surplus of
medical supplies or ancillary materials that will never be used and
must then be discarded by the site. While the field of clinical research provides ever-evolving additions to medical knowledge, many of the critical operating procedures are still technologically outdated. By employing the
four strategies outlined above to eliminate outdated methods by
digitally updating key processes, the costly and time-consuming
burdens of paper source, paper consent forms, hard copies of regulatory materials, and an under or oversupply of physical materials.

Clin Trial Pract Open J. 2019; 2(1): 17-18. doi: 10.17140/CTPOJ-2-107