Over the last decade, there has been increasing interest in mobile health (mHealth) and wearables. The general population has been tracking their steps, checking their heart rates, and monitoring their sleep patterns. Meanwhile, the clinical trial industry has been exploring decentralized trials and remote monitoring options as a way of alleviating the travel burden that patients and CRAs often endure in the course of a trial, especially in rare disease studies where hard-to-find patient populations, as well as the diseases themselves, make trials especially complex.
Then the pandemic arrived, and with both patients and clinical trial personnel needing to stay away from sites, the tools and techniques that had been a ‘nice-to-have’ option became a necessity. A year later, the industry has proof that mHealth and remote monitoring deliver clean, concise data far more conveniently than the traditional methods. Now, these new strategies are no longer contingency plans; bringing the clinical trial to the patient is the new normal.