The global clinical trials market was estimated at USD 44.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7% from 2021 to 2028. At the heart of this rapid expansion lies 4G cellular connectivity.
Cellular technology has once again shifted the horizon, transforming the way that clinical trial organisations can gather patient information remotely, thanks to a new flexible and secure solution for ‘always on’ connectivity.
What are the current challenges?
The shift away from traditional clinical trials which relied on standard in-clinic assessments, to trials involving mobile technology, began several years ago. There are many benefits, including reduction of in-person clinic visits and greater data collection accuracy, but even today it is still difficult to gather information about symptoms, side effects and dose patterns. This can be caused by many factors, for example; some patients don’t have a suitable device, some lack the technical know-how and others are limited by an unreliable wi-fi or cellular connection.
These connectivity issues can result in data and revenue loss, safety and security risks, and worst of all reputation damage, which ultimately reduces the effectiveness of trials, wasting time and money.
4G cellular connectivity is the answer
Cellular connectivity has provided a resilient and secure solution to these challenges, by seamlessly connecting ePRO (Electronic Patients Reported Outcome) or eCOA (Electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment) devices, pre-loaded with a clinical trial app, which are deployed directly to patients, with no set up or lead times. Patients simply turn the device on which becomes instantly live and securely connected via 4G, independent of their own wi-fi or cellular connection. This is enabled through a roaming SIM, which provides ‘always on’ connectivity. The strongest network signal is automatically chosen meaning data transfer is secure, fast and reliable.
This ‘always on’ connectivity effectively decentralises the trial, meaning patient location, lack of personal mobility or user error, will all become issues of the past. As any expert in the field will appreciate, this therefore has the potential to be transformational.
One powerful interface
Being able to securely manage these connected IoT assets once they have been deployed, requires a complex ecosystem. The best solutions allow full visibility of SIMs by mapping them globally and highlighting any non-use, by using real time alerts to monitor data usage removing the possibility of bill shock, and by enabling two way SMS communication to build engagement with patients, thereby increasing retention.
In addition, for clinical trial organisations, having the ability to spread data tariffs across multiple devices, and monitor and manage SIMs in real time across multiple networks and devices, allows them to find their most cost effective model.
The importance of securing patient data
The healthcare industry is one of the most highly regulated in terms of data privacy, so multiple interconnecting strategies are needed to provide additional data security. Devices should always be IMEI locked, meaning SIMs cannot be used in other devices, while IP Whitelisting limits functionality. Together these minimise fraudulent misuse and risk of data breach, thereby also minimising potential reputational damage.
It is also vital that any connectivity partner adheres to the ISO 27001 standard, to give organisations peace of mind that all processes and data involved in their clinical trials will be completely secure. After a rigorous auditing process, Wireless Logic are proud to have achieved this accreditation, which exemplifies their ongoing commitment to information security excellence.
Tailored solutions for future success
SIMPro is Wireless Logic’s connectivity management platform, designed for customers to securely manage their connected IoT assets at scale, using a single customisable window to securely manage SIMs and data, across any networks and any number of deployments.
Our managed connectivity platform and 4G cellular connectivity network provide our customers with ‘always on’ connectivity, for an end to end solution, all of which is fully supported by our in house IoT experts. Instead of worrying about logistics, organisations can focus their energy on getting their solutions to market quickly and efficiently analysing the data as it flows in.
The future of clinical trials is going to the next level, and the team of IoT experts at Wireless Logic have the solutions to take your organisation there. Let us show you how.