Decentralized trials more pandemic-proof than traditional: study

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(Jelena Stanojkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(Jelena Stanojkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Decentralized trials Remote clinical trials Research Clinical trials software Thread

A study by two trial technology firms reportedly indicates that decentralized trials are outperforming on-site in recruitment, retention and other aspects.

THREAD, in partnership with trial intelligent specialist Lokavant, has released the results of a joint analysis comparing decentralized trial performance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to traditional, on-site studies. According to the report, decentralized research approaches are performing better than traditional trials when it comes to aspects like patient recruitment and retention levels.

The study indicates both patient recruitment and retention dropped industry-wide in early 2020, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic causing global quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Interestingly, according to the findings, decentralized trials were able to more quickly bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, while traditional-design trials were still struggling to recover through September.

Report authors posit that trials using decentralized technology like THREAD’s platform were able to recover quickly because they already had in place, or were in a position to readily add, remote features and services. Additionally, trials with decentralized features had the ability to pivot more readily when their geographical areas were hit with shutdowns.

By contrast, the study indicates, traditional-design trials were slower to recover. Report authors shared that traditional trials had difficulty recovering because their protocols, technologies, and schedules precluded adoption of decentralized approaches.

John Reites, THREAD CEO, said the findings of the study indicate decentralized trials can be more flexible, resilient, and adaptable to current challenges.

This study is evidence that decentralized approaches are supporting sites and study teams to increase participant recruitment and retention in the more remote world that we now live in​,” he said. “Though the industry clearly understands the value, practicality, and promise of decentralized trials, it’s important for us to study, quantify, and report how these approaches positively impact clinical trials​.”

The study compared and contrasted decentralized trials with traditional studies (with all site-based patient visits) over the first three quarters of 2020. Lokavant’s Insight clinical operations benchmarking tool was used to measure results.

Rohit Nambisan, president of Lokavant, said the study highlights the benefits of decentralized trial approaches.

It also shows the importance of data-driven benchmarking, not only for developing a snapshot of relative study performance, but for planning studies effectively, managing trials proactively, and anticipating issues before they occur,​” he said.

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