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Remote patient monitoring changes clinical trials

Remote patient monitoring has proven its value in caring for patients with chronic diseases. Learn why it's now proving useful in clinical trials.

Remote patient monitoring technology has the attention of many physicians and other caregivers. Patients' use of wearable devices and remote patient monitoring devices has proven they can capture valuable data for certain patients, such as those with chronic diseases. Some hospitals also have reported positive results after remotely monitoring patients who were discharged from their facility. Remote patient monitoring technology allows clinicians to observe patients without seeing them in person and quickly react to any worrisome changes in their health.

But remote monitoring techniques such as telemedicine are not limited to working with patients who have existing conditions. Clinical research organizations have found another way in which telemedicine can help the healthcare industry reduce costs, increase safety and improve patient outcomes.

Clinical research organizations that oversee drug trials are responsible for observing and recording the reactions of participants in the trials. The information collected during a drug trial is used to establish the drug's side effects as well its effectiveness in treating the targeted condition. Typically, these trials are conducted by collecting data from participants during frequent visits.

During these visits, nurses collect information such as a subject's vital signs. Clinical trials that rely on the experience and reaction of participants, and don't require more extensive observation such as blood work, are an opportunity for research organizations to deploy remote patient monitoring systems or telemedicine services. Electronically capturing information from test subjects through medical devices can improve the accuracy of the clinical data and increase the frequency of data collection.

The following list highlights a few of the benefits remote patient monitoring and telemedicine technology can provide when used by clinical researchers.

  • The technologies afford the ability to increase the number of patient participants without needing to involve many more people on the researchers' end. Researchers can gather participants' vitals and interact with them without leaving their offices. The reduction in travel is a noteworthy timesaver for clinical research organizations.
  • Researchers can have access to larger data volumes, collected from participants' devices. This can lead to a wider range of insights into how different people react to the medication being tested. Procuring more data can prove constructive because a larger trial dataset may be a more accurate sample of the public at-large, to whom the drug will be released.
  • Remote monitoring services offer real-time visibility of patients' vitals and the ability to quickly address adverse reactions or odd behavior. This provides researchers with insight into possible side effects.

Financial pressures have pushed clinical research organizations to identify areas where some technologies can provide budget relief while still maintaining a high standard of research quality. The use of remote patient monitoring and telemedicine can meet these demands by reducing operational costs, improving the safety of the trials and increasing the amount of data collected.

About the author
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development at Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email editor@searchhealthit.com or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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This was last published in July 2015

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