Survey: 97% plan to use digital health tech in trials over next five years

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

The clinical grade wearables market is expected to reach $18.9bn in 2020. (Image: iStock/HASLOO)
The clinical grade wearables market is expected to reach $18.9bn in 2020. (Image: iStock/HASLOO)

Related tags: Clinical trial, Pharmacology

Digital health devices are increasingly being used by the industry to collect patient-generated data in clinical trials and improve medication adherence – and adoption is expected to increase.

According to survey results, published by Validic, more than 60% have used digital health technologies​ in clinical trials, and more than 97% plan to use such tools more over the next five years.

Digital technologies in clinical trials
(Image: Validic)

Jennifer Plumer, Validic director of marketing told us the most interesting findings from the survey centered around medication adherence.

Medication adherence has always been a top priority for pharma, which is not surprising given the close correlation between participants’ compliance and the ability to get a drug to market faster and more cost effectively​,” Plumer said.

"Given advancements in technology, remotely tracking and monitoring prescription compliance has not only become a reality, but also an increased priority for pharma​," she added.

And the survey results reflect this - with 100% of respondents stating they believe digital health technologies improve adherence.

Additionally, more than two thirds of respondents said the most important outcome for drug developers using digital health technology​ is improved medication adherence. 

As more evidence is available and sponsors continue to realize real-time, objective adherence data enables adaptive trial design and the ability to confidently make adjustments to protocols, we expect to see the interest in adherence technologies continue to rise​,” added Plumer.

The evolving role of digital health tech in clinical trials

The role of digital health technologies has continued to evolve in the pharma industry and the survey results mark an overwhelmingly positive shift towards increased adoption of digital health devices, sensors, apps and wearables in trials.

In fact, 64% stated they have already used digital health tech in trials, and 97% responded that they would utilize it more within the next 5 years.

As Plumer explained, mobile applications have been a popular “entry point​” for companies looking to being using digital health, “but we’re expecting to see greater use of wearables and sensors in the near-term​,” she added.

Digital technologies in clinical trials
(Image: Validic)

As previously reported​, the clinical grade wearables market is expected to reach $18.9bn in 2020 according to Frost & Sullivan.

However, the industry’s main concern has been the accuracy of data gathered with these devices.

The new technologies and data points are causing the industry to step back and ask basic questions like, ‘What does validated data actually mean?​’” said Plumer.

To address these concerns, drug developers, the FDA, technology companies and various clinical trial consortiums have been working together​ to establish precedent on trials incorporating digital health.

According to the survey, the respondents are most interested in reducing trial costs, while also being able to effectively demonstrate a drug’s efficacy in the real world.

Most notably, 97% of respondents stated they believe digital health will improve trial cost effectiveness.

Pharma continues to press on with its adoption of digital health technologies, realizing the benefits and potential are only just beginning to be realized​,” explained Plumer.

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