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        Patient recruitment and retention rank among the greatest challenges faced by the clinical trial industry today. On an average 60 percent of the total drug development cost goes into clinical trials. Moreover, 32 percent of the clinical trial cost goes solely into patient recruitment and retention.

        Source: Grandview research

        The global clinical trial market is on a constant rise. More than $2 Billion are spent annually for recruiting patients for the clinical trials. The time is ripe for a paradigm shift in the manner of patient recruitment in clinical trials and leveraging technology to the same effect.

        Here are the top ways in which technology has the potential to streamline the process of patient recruitment in clinical trials.


        Software-led approaches are taking patient recruitment to new frontiers. Artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning are bringing forth new advances in the field of clinical drug trials.

        ML algorithms can scan through multiple data types and patient records in order to come up with the right selection in terms of fit as well as engagement.

        Processes like electronic phenotyping can also get a boost from AI algorithms which in turn help reducing population heterogeneity

        Drawing from a variety of data sources like EHRs, physician notes, images, patient scans, etc, artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms can help enhance patient selection.

        They have the potential to promote diversity, reduce population heterogeneity, choose patients who are more likely to have a measurable clinical endpoint, and identify a cohort of patients who are more capable of responding to treatment.

        Mendel.ai, deep6, and Clara Health are some of the pioneers which are leveraging AI for streamlining patient recruitment.

        Artificial Intelligence can also be deployed in the designing of clinical protocol. Large data sets from previous trials can be compared to determine similarities and areas of concern.

        Researchers and CROs can use that information to improve the protocol design of the forthcoming trial and plan for effective patient recruitment strategies.


        Use of mobile technologies is critical to enabling virtual clinical trials and easing the site burden on the clinical trials. Having specialized medication adherence apps can send out reminders at regular intervals in the form of push notifications.

        Mobile apps can also make it easier for the patients to go through the application process, automate the form filling and take it digital, thus eliminating the need for paper based sign-ups.

        Other than the logistical and scientific advantages mobile technology in clinical trials brings, it also boosts the safety and security of patient data.

        Developing a HIPAA compliant app ensures that the most stringent data encryption and safety measures have been taken to protect the clinical and patient data from malicious attacks.

        Patients also have reported a strong willingness to participate in mobile trials. According to a 2019 research study, 80.7 percent participants said that they would be willing to join a mobile trail and 76.4 percent would prefer it over the traditional trials.

        Thus mHealth is proven to be one of the most effective ways of advancing patient recruitment in clinical trials and ensuring their retention, thus bolstering the chances of success and bringing down the costs.


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        Dr Vinati Kamani writes about emerging technology and its application across industries for Arkenea. She is an avid reader and self proclaimed bibliophile. When Vinati is not at her desk penning down articles or reading up on the recent trends, she can be found travelling to remote places and soaking up different cultural experiences.