The study of medicine is constantly evolving, and new medicines and treatments are being rolled out and available for general consumption.
However, to get these drugs and treatments ready for us, clinical trials are necessary. These new treatments need to be thoroughly tested, and the final part of the testing process is for the treatments and drugs to be tried out by real people.
As you can imagine, the methods we used to try these treatments fifty years ago aren’t as effective today. So, it stands to reason that new methods of clinical trials are becoming popular. What are these new methods, and why should you be interested in them? What benefits can they bring? Let’s find out.
What Is a Clinical Trial?
A clinical trial is a medical experiment, done in a controlled environment, to measure a response to a drug, device, or procedure, as well as to assess its safety and effectiveness.
Clinical trials are complex and can differ depending on the treatment that they are testing. However, they always require a group of trial patients, usually with a control group or a placebo group.
Clinical trials can be divided into roughly three areas:
- Traditional Clinical Trial
This is a basic model of a clinical trial. Patients participating in a trial attend a research location for treatment and observation. All meetings and monitoring are done in person, at a specific location.
- Virtual and Remote Clinical Trial
Virtual remote clinics utilize technology and long-distance communication to observe and treat patients without the subjects needing to attend a physical location. Drugs, devices, and other treatments may be shipped to the patients to use at home, work, or in their own local clinic.
- Hybrid Clinical Trial
A hybrid clinic combines elements of both a virtual trial and a traditional one. Some parts of the trial are done on location, whereas others can be done remotely.
Direct To Patient (DTP) Trials
Direct To Patient trials (DTP) involve a device, treatment, or drug being administered to a trial patient at their location. For example, a new diabetes drug could be given out to diabetes patients (as an agreed-upon part of the clinical trial) either at their homes or in hospitals.
There are plenty of benefits that come along with using DTP trials:
- Faster patient recovery times (due to the comfort and convenience of being at home)
- Easier access to possible test patients (since the distance is no longer an option, and patients don’t need to travel to a location)
- Greater diversity in the trial group
Of course, there are issues involved in DTP trials. For example, shipping the products to the patients could be tricky. Delayed shipping times or damaged parcels could leave the product unsuitable for use and therefore wasted. This will cost money.
Depending on the trial, patients may still need to attend local clinics, or they may need a medical professional nearby while they take the treatment.
Decentralized Clinical Trials (DCT)
DTP clinical trials are just one form of Decentralized Clinical Trials (DCT). DCTs aim to take the focus of a clinical trial away from a central location altogether.
As you can imagine, switching from traditional clinical trials to DCTs can be a big step – even if you’re convinced that it’s the right one. There are specialized medical services that can help with this switch, like PPD Digital. These companies help to customize and streamline a clinical trial for the best and simplest outcome.
The Bottom Line
Changing from traditional trials to DCTs can be a little daunting, but it may well be the best thing to properly test a new treatment or drug. Times are changing – let’s not get left behind.