Virtual Clinical Trials: Can they Replace Traditional Clinic Trials

Joshua Horton

Virtual clinical trials (VCTs) are an increasingly popular way to test new drugs and treatments. While the general public may not be familiar with them just yet, they have been used for years in drug development by pharmaceutical companies. VCTs can provide fast results without requiring participants to come into clinics for visits like traditional clinical trials would require, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when people are encouraged to stay at home. If you want more information about what virtual clinical trials are and how they differ from traditional ones, then keep reading! We shall also discuss their Pros and Cons.

What Are Virtual Clinical Trials?

Also known as computer-generated or digital clinical trials, VCTs carried out in a virtual environment. They may be conducted using video conferencing software and live webinars which oversee participants’ progress. The goal is for the participant to experience medical treatment virtually while still in their own home, either on their computer or tablet screen, without coming into a clinic.

Data Collection

The data collected from VCTs is very similar to that of traditional ones. The only difference is how the participant interacts with the trial–via a computer or tablet screen rather than in person. A study’s participants are usually assigned randomly, but if one has access to any medical device such as an insulin pump, they can enter the trial using it.

How are Participants recruited for Trials?

Recruiters contact people who meet certain criteria and ask those interested in participating in clinical trials to do so by filling in a certain form. They invite them to participate in their study for free by using these new technologies if they are interested.

Advantages of Virtual Clinical Trials

VCT’s have many benefits:

1. They Save Time and Money

One of the main reasons that people conduct virtual clinical trials is to save time and money. They often save 90% on recruitment costs alone because they are contacting participants over the internet instead of sending a recruiter out into their communities or having someone call them up from an advertisement in local newspapers.

2. Better Patient Engagement

Patients are more interactive with virtual clinical trials because they can access a website from the comfort of their own home instead of having to travel or take time off work and come into a clinic or hospital for hours at a time to participate in traditional clinical trials that may be happening an hour away.

3. Improved Data Collection and Capture

Data collection is also better because it’s more accurate and in-depth. There are no biases when a doctor or nurse types questions into an online system instead of engaging with the patient face-to-face for each question, which may lead to misunderstanding.

Disadvantages of Virtual Clinical Trials

There are, however, some disadvantages to VCTs:

Lack of Incentives

VCTs do not provide an incentive for people who participate in them. This may lead to a lack of diversity or other issues with participants and their data. Virtual medicine and clinical trials are a new field, and it may take time for these issues to be resolved.

Challenges with Data Security

The cloud is a new technology, and there are many ways for hackers to access your private information if you store it in the clouds, which usually go unchecked. It may be possible for someone to find out personal or medical information from VCTs without consent with just their computer skills.

The Future of Virtual Medicine and Clinical Trials

Virtual medicine and clinical trials are a new field, but they’ve been taking off since their invention in the early 2000s. The future looks bright for virtual medical technologies that will change clinical trial processes as we know them.

Wrap Up

Virtual clinical trials will be the future of medical research. The potential benefits are staggering and outweigh any challenges of using this new type of trial. While they have not been widely implemented, we believe they will become more common in coming years as researchers realize how much time and money can be saved by running a study virtually rather than on an assembly line with physical patients at clinics all across the country.