Mobile health is quickly becoming the future of healthcare and clinical trials. mHealth solutions are expected to grow to an $8 billion market by 2019. The benefits of incorporating mobile devices into clinical research range from recruiting potential study participants to collecting data directly from a subject in real-time. Mobile health poses a great opportunity for both physicians and patients. Here are the top seven ways we believe mobile health technology can benefit clinical patients.
1. Provides Greater Awareness of Trials
Many patients are often unaware of the possibility of enrolling in a trial. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 3% of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials. Older patients, women, and minority groups are even less likely to participate. If they are aware of an opportunity, it is often difficult to locate a trial or long-distance travel to a clinic study site may be necessary. Depending on the number of clinic visits required by the study protocol, significant travel time and costs may cause apprehension towards participating. So what is the solution? A recent study reported by Fierce Mobile Health Care, reported that among 705 patients owning smartphones, 67% were receptive to receiving clinical trial information by email, with 44% using search engines to look up the information on their smartphone. Using SEO (search engine optimization) strategies, patients would be able to find a clinical trial on their own or be notified of trials through email, without having to rely on their physician for information. Using eQualification and eConsent, the patient can also qualify and enroll in the trial through their computer or smart device.
2. Bring Your Own Device Makes Trials More Comfortable
Many patients feel more comfortable working off their personal laptop or smartphone. In 2015, more than two thirds of Americans owned and actively used a smartphone. Patients will be able to track trial data and report daily activity through their smartphone, using a mobile app or an eDiary. Patients may also feel more comfortable disclosing personal information or symptoms through a familiar device, which grants physicians more knowledge about the drug and its effectiveness. Also, using the patient’s smartphone reduces costs for trial sponsors. Since trial sites are expensive, using the BYOD method can significantly reduce the costs of maintaining a study site.
3. Convenient Way to Track Activities
Asking patients to log their activities and daily habits in a paper diary can be beneficial to trial sponsors and physicians, but over time it can become tedious for the patient to have to recall information about their day. Using mobile technology, and incorporating push notifications as reminders, patients can log their daily life in a matter of seconds. Notifications can be sent out three times a day for meals and reminders can be used for patients to log their activities. With the use of wearable technology, patients may no longer be required to log exercise or movement throughout the day since this information is tracked on the device automatically.
4. Data is More Accurate and Gathered Faster
In our previous blog post, we focused on the benefits of incorporating wearable technology in clinical trials for capturing data. Not only does this benefit the physicians and sponsors, but it also has the potential to significantly reduce the burden on patients. The traditional method of a paper diary is open to error. While this may not be intentional from the patient, the task of recalling information over a certain period of time can be difficult. A 2008 study in Perspectives on Psychological Science noted “All memory is false to some degree.” The study found that when trials asked patients to recall symptoms from even a few hours prior, they introduced a source of inaccuracy. Some patients struggled to remember and others would tweak their answers to what they believe the physician wants to hear. While this may not seem to affect the patient directly, greater accuracy in data collection helps researchers and developers understand adverse events sooner and helps to understand the effect of the drug on patients better.
5. Prevent Adverse Events Sooner
Unfortunately no trial is without error. However, being able to predict possible adverse events through electronic data capture can reduce the chance of harm for patients and physicians. If there appear to be problems arising, the company that sponsors the trial will be able to use this information to look at biomarkers faster and take necessary action. For example, consider a patient with diabetes enrolled in a drug trial. With mobile health monitoring, this patient can be closely monitored for changes that require attention. Weight, blood pressure, insulin levels, and daily activity can be monitored in real-time through their mobile or wearable device. If physicians begin to notice that the patient is responding negatively to a drug, they will be able to report this information sooner and prevent harm to the patient.
6. Patient Pools in Multiple Languages
Through the use of mobile apps in clinical trials, patients are now able to eQualify and eConsent in their native language. In addition, the content on the app can be easily customized to the patient’s language preference. This becomes essential when conducting clinical trials globally.
7. Improved Communication between Patients and Physicians
Communication in a clinical setting usually involves minimal interaction with the patient and long periods of time with little to no communication at all. This can leave the patient feeling unsure. Avoiding communication pitfalls and sharpening basic communication can help strengthen the patient-physician bond that many patients and physicians feel is lacking. Mobile technology is paving the way to resolving this issue. Patients and physicians can now communicate through their mobile devices instantaneously. If a patient has a question or concern, they can send a quick SMS message to their doctor and get a response right away. This results in a happier patient and more accurate data for physicians.
The mobile health solution is quickly becoming the future of healthcare. Parallel 6 has developed a clinical trial software that considers both the patient and physician’s welfare. Clinical 6™ is an effective and easy way to manage and participate in a clinical trial. If you would like to learn more about Clinical 6™ or Parallel 6, please visit our website.