How is Tech Enabling Diversity in Pharmaceutical Trials?
Drugs are taken by everyone, yet clinical trials, particularly in the United States, tend to lack diversity. This can cause serious problems in untested populations, and it’s widely accepted that more diversity in pharma is necessary for pharmaceutical trials. In fact, the FDA suggests that diversifying clinical trials is the best way to move forward. While this isn’t actually a rule yet, it has become a guideline.
Technology is the bridge to testing drugs on a variety of genders and races, making sure that the end results are drugs that are more useful to the general population.
Using Mobile Tech to Reach More Locations
Location isn’t as important for a clinical trial when you have access to your patients via mobile tech. Referred to as MCT (Mobile Clinical Trials), these tests allow anyone to participate, which widens the number of people who can enter the trial. It’s immediately more convenient and can reach a bigger group of people.
MCT has been proven to include more minorities and women in trials since they can attend easily. In many cases, minorities are unable to travel as easily as others. Women may be prevented from participating in regular trials due to familial obligations. Using a mobile phone makes it easy for these people to participate.
When mobile phones are used to monitor trial participants, there is often a higher level of communication than there would be in a regular study. This has been shown to increase engagement and helps keep patients in the trial until the end.
Video calls and text chats also make communication simpler and more accessible. This increased engagement can mean the trial is more successful than it would be without the same level of communication. It also allows for the inclusion of participants whose first language is not English. The ability to include Spanish, Chinese, or other language speakers in the study immediately expands the racial diversity. Mobile phones make translations simple these days.
Electronic Health Records
It’s fairly rare to have paper records on patients these days, so electronic health records make the process of keeping track of your patients’ data much simpler. Using electronic tracking methods for study data makes it simpler to sort and organize the information collected. It’s an efficient method of managing your data, but you should ensure that you follow privacy regulations and ensure the data is complete. Blockchain storage can help with this.
Biosensors and Other Wearable Tech
Aside from mobile technology, tech that is specifically designed to keep track of your patients’ symptoms and information in real-time can be helpful in a clinical trial. Instead of having nurses there to stay on top of the patients’ vital signs, it’s possible to monitor from afar.
Biosensors and other wearable options can give you the information you need, including heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and more. These can also be used from afar, allowing your patients to continue about their daily lives without interrupting the stream of data. It immediately becomes possible to carry out trials that include more people and even people in other areas of the country.
How to Become More Diverse In Your Trials
While you know that tech can help with diversity in pharma trials, how do you implement this? Where do you find a wider range of humans to participate in your clinical trials? Here are a few ways to do that.
Look Outside the City
Rural areas are just as in need as urban centers, and you’ll find a wide variety of people there. By expanding your trial to include those in more rural spaces, your trial will have more diversity. It’s important to emphasize the use of technology in this case, as many people in rural areas won’t be able to travel far to get to your trial.
Reach Out to Community Centers
Community-based medical centers are ideal for finding patients outside of the bigger city centers. Many academic facilities are located in large cities, but if you take the time to look at other cities and towns, you may be surprised at the diversity in those you can find.
Medical centers will frequently have information on the types of people or those with the specific condition you plan to treat. Talk to them and use their resources to help spread the word.
Contact Patient Advocacy Groups
These groups are specifically designed to connect those with a specific disease. Reach out to them and you’ll have immediate access to more potential participants for your trial. Since the groups are usually quite diverse, this is an essential step in finding your target patients.
Create Wider Eligibility
When you’re starting, you should make sure that you don’t narrow your group too much. If you are focused on only treating a small part of the populace, it’s quite possible that you’ll miss out on others who are in need of the trial. Build your criteria list with an open mind and plan to include a wider variety of patients in your study.
Diversity in Pharma Matters
To create drugs that will help everyone instead of one area of only, it’s essential to expand your clinical trials to include a wider variety of patients. Thanks to tech, it’s possible to expand your diversity and include those of other races and minorities in your trials. The final result will be a more inclusive world with better medicines and healthcare for everyone, not just the select few.
Diversity in pharma begins with the trials. It all has to start at the beginning, and you need to take responsibility for ensuring that your methods of selection will reach a wide variety of people. This is the only way we can change the way pharmaceutical drugs look in the future by changing things now.