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Using mHealth solutions for clinical trials
Bettina van Wylich-Muxoll

How mHealth Solutions can improve the research methodology of clinical trials

Using mHealth solutions for clinical trials as data-collection tools, can potentially revolutionise clinical research. Wearable devices and mobile health solutions can offer pharmaceutical companies access to additional patient data to provide a more comprehensive overview of safety and efficacy.

According to a new report by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, there are now more than 165,000 mobile health apps on the market.

A report released in 2015 by Rock Health revealed that:

  • 4 out of 5 internet connected adults use some kind of digital health technology
  • 52% of consumers strongly agree that they are responsible for their own health
  • 40% of people who made an online search for health information acted on the results of their search in some way
  • 92% of users agree that they should be the one controlling their health data
  • 80% of users would share their health data with their care provider to get better care [1]

The use of mHealth solutions for clinical trials is increasing, and according to industry experts, this trend will dominate the market in the coming years. In a recent SCORR Marketing report, 50% of industry experts surveyed say they use mHealth technology in their clinical trials and protocols, and of those 60% consider mHealth very important or critical to their research. [2]

As of August 29th, a search of clinical trials.gov showed 272 studies that mention the use of mHealth and 186 studies that mention a wearable. [2]

People use their mobile phones every day; it is the first and last thing they see when they wake up in the morning and before they go to bed. This is one of the reasons why the use of smartphones and wearables will continue to increase the use of mHealth solutions in clinical trials and pharmaceutical research.

The patient data obtained from mHealth devices, whether it is sensor or self-reported data, will transform the way patients are being diagnosed, monitored, and treated.

Additionally, the costs of conducting clinical trials are high, and mHealth technology has the necessary means to optimise the resources used and maintain lower costs. Mobile health data provides researchers with access to real-time data and visualisations that enable them to spot situations that otherwise would have been at best an indicator when reported through traditional clinical channels.

Additionally, pharmaceutical companies and researchers can immediately identify if a patient has stopped taking their medication or they present any unusual symptoms in real-time, and take action.

By using mHealth solutions, pharmaceutical companies expect to bring patients closer to the research and obtain better enrolment rates, compliance, and retention.

In addition to receiving information from patients, these devices can also be utilised to send information to the patients such as information about their condition and clinical questionnaires.

In the near future, pharmaceutical companies will be able to gather and visualise even more data in real time using mHealth technology, which will potentially shorten timelines, improve patient satisfaction, and increase future recruitment.

Interested in using mHealth technology for your clinical trial? Click here to learn more.

References:

[1] Rock Health: 80 percent of Internet-connected adults use digital health tools. J. Comstock. MobiHealthNews. (2015, October 19)
http://mobihealthnews.com/47675/rock-health-80-percent-of-internet-connected-adults-use-digital-health-tools

[2] MHealth in Clinical Research. Denise, Myshko. Pharma Voice. (2016, October)
http://www.pharmavoice.com/article/2016-10-mhealth/