While he’s a big fan of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs), THREAD CEO John Reites expects some “contraction” of their use as the COVID-19 pandemic wears off. “A lot of people are excited to be returning for personal visits,” he notes.
Even so, Reites does not advocate returning the industry to normal business operations for clinical trials when COVID-19 is a bad memory rather than a daily hindrance. “The study participants see the benefit of a hybrid approach” for clinical studies, believes Reites. However, any successful mix of personal and virtual must focus on “quality, consistency and convenience,” he emphasizes. “We are pleased that hybrid models are becoming more flexible,” he adds.
Reites calls it a “pivotal moment” in the development of DCTs and hybrids and predicts that we are several years away from a significant increase in their ongoing use. “It will take some time for the industry to adapt,” he says, “because it’s a different way of thinking.”
Reites has already seen tremendous growth in a new variant of DCTs, both in terms of larger studies and multi-site studies. Additionally, in addition to being used for data collection, DCTs find that they “also have a greater impact on recruiting”. DCTs and hybrid tools will also encourage diversity in the patient population, he adds.
The future is now: discussions about decentralized clinical trials, diversity and inclusion
On Thursday May 20th, join our expert group at ACRP 2021 and discuss various aspects of DCTs including: the role websites play in the success of DCTs; what patients want to see; and whether DCTs can deliver on their promise to improve access to research and enable greater diversity of participants.
View session details>
Reites notes that the clinical trials industry is doing well in “evolutionary, not revolutionary,” steps and believes that the measured approach makes perfect sense for more DCTs and hybrid studies. However, he also believes that there will always be an important role for so-called stationary locations.
“Technology will not replace people,” said Reites. Instead, he sees it as a “support or support tool” that could serve to increase the overall volume of testing and the associated demand for professionals.
Author: Michael Causey