NeuAge Institute (NAI)

Remote Trials: What You Should Know as a Student in Clinical Research Training

The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of “norms” in society around the world throughout a number of industries. In the clinical research world, this meant an express shift to remote trials in order to be able to continue to collect data and perform studies. With the complications of human interaction and the inability to socially distance from one another at most research sites, the switch to remote trials offered a feasible option for institutions to continue their work.

As a student entering clinical research training, it is paramount to recognize how remote trials differ from in-person trials and what this could mean for the data collection process, patient participation and compliance, and ultimate results of the study. At the NeuAge Institute, you’ll be able to pick up the practical skills needed to perform clinical trials while also being ready to adapt at any moment in such a growing and changing industry. Continue reading to discover what you need to know about remote trials for your training.

The Uptake of Remote Clinical Trials

Traditionally, clinical trials have been conducted at research facilities, which require the transportation of participants to the site for data collection. Recently, and especially exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, remote clinical trials have been increasing in popularity. The idea is that remote trials take away some burdens for the participants, including geographic distance from the site, education, and socioeconomic status. Remote trials are being implemented around the world to improve access for participants, even resulting in a noticeable uptake of participants from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Prompted by the pandemic, many clinical trial leads were forced to adapt their processes in order to switch to remote studies to continue their research. This required learning and implementing new software, ensuring participants were properly educated on the process, and completing remote monitoring for data. Due to the rapid and necessary switch to remote trials, it is believed that they are here to stay after discovering their efficacy and integration into clinical research over the last few years.

Education is essential for the participant to produce reliable data.

Challenges to Watch for After Clinical Research Training

According to SOCRA, a leader in the clinical research world, there will always be consistent challenges facing researchers when it comes to clinical trials. No matter if the trials are conducted remotely or in person, one major factor is always cost. Clinical research sites and production services always need an appropriate method for budgeting and pricing. When the primary concern is to always do right by the patients, it’s important that no corners are cut, even for cost, after your clinical research program

Another major challenge regarding remote trials is the no-response rate. A recent study showed that nearly half of all requested participants (43.3%) did not respond to the phone calls and emails that were sent out. This presented an added challenge on top of those who declined to participate, which was another 18.6% of the total expected participants. Ultimately, the numbers of the study were too small to find the expected results that they were hoping for. As a professional in this field, it may be worthwhile considering this challenge due to the sheer amount of outreach it will take for remote trials to rally enough participants.

Contact with participants in remote trials can be challenging, as well as ensuring their cooperation.

Implications for the Future

It is expected that the challenges of remote trials will become less burdensome the more frequently they are used across industries. Clinical research sites were quick to adapt their data collection structures during the pandemic and are continuing to improve their methods for remote trials. One area for improvement that you may discover after your clinical research courses is the desire for more mobile equipment. Low-cost and portable equipment makes access to remote trials more readily available for both research institutions and participants. The opportunity to refine the remote education and remote monitoring processes will only help remote trials continue to get smoother and more effective as they are performed. There is still great value in having a central research site to analyze and refine data, but with the addition of remote clinical trials, the opportunities for studies and participants that may have been previously unattainable have arrived. 

 

Interested in starting clinical research training?

Contact the NeuAge Institute for more information!

 

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