The tide is turning in regard to hybrid Decentralized Clinical Trials (DCT) as sponsors and CROs are increasing including virtual visits into new study protocols. Virtual visits reduce the burden on patients and thereby are a great resource for increasing patient engagement. As the benefits are shared more readily across the industry, it’s inevitable that hybrid decentralized trials will continue to grow in popularity and be incorporated in even more studies. As a result, choosing the right digital patient engagement platform on which to conduct decentralized trials is a critical decision point for both sponsors and sites as it will ultimately impact the success of the studies themselves. 

To prepare for the transition to hybrid DCTs, research sites will need to adjust current procedures and make plans to handle virtual visits in order to be eligible for studies that include virtual visits. Choosing the right digital patient engagement platform will be an important choice in that preparation. There are several differentiators between providers and it will be important for sites to understand those differences and choose a provider that supports their business and sets them up for success. 

Digital Patient Engagement Platform Elements

Works with Any Research Site

Some decentralized clinical trial providers are aiming for ‘site-less’ trials that operate via a metasite or a single selected site. This model eliminates the critical human connection and poses a threat to the majority of clinical research sites. 

Look for a provider that supports site sustainability, promotes a hybrid approach, and works with any research site. 

Supports a Hybrid DCT Model

Most studies aren’t well-suited for 100% virtual visits, but rather benefit from including a percentage of virtual visits along with some on site visits. A hybrid model intentionally keeps many trial visits in-person and reserves remote visits for appointments such as study wellness check-ins and medication compliance checks, which can safely and easily be accomplished remotely.

Look for a provider that supports site sustainability and promotes a hybrid DCT model where some visits are remote and some take place on site.

Works on Any Device

Ideally, your digital engagement platform will not require a specific device on which to operate. Requiring patients to carry a second device in order to participate creates an additional burden. In that scenario, sites are often responsible for storing the devices on site and lending tech support as well. 

Look for a platform that works on any device so that patients can simply use their personal devices with which they’re already familiar. 

Displays Intuitive User Interface

Keeping patient-centricity in mind, the screens that patients need to interact with for virtual visits should be easy to read and easy to interact with. That means simple navigation and options for how they communicate. 

Look for an app that is built specifically with the clinical trial workflow in mind. Some solutions were developed by technologists while others were designed by experienced clinical research professionals.

Provides Multiple Languages and Translators

With an increasing demand for patient diversity, digital engagement platforms provide the opportunity to expand your patient population demographics. With geographic location and travel time less of a hindrance, extended recruitment regions are possible. Of course, this means the app will need to facilitate seamless communication across multiple languages. 

Look for a platform that has built-in support for multiple languages and provides medically certified translators. 

Includes Easily Accessible Training

Sites will need training on the new platform they choose for their personal use and also so they can show their patients how to use the app. 

Look for a provider that has easily accessible training that enables you to get up to speed quickly. An added benefit is providers that supply sites with a logo or badge to post on their website that indicates to sponsors and CROs that you’re trained and ready to participate in hybrid decentralized trials.

Built on Proven Technology

Reliability, security, and compliance are key foundational elements that can’t be ignored. Critical to any digital patient engagement platform is availability. Sites must be confident that they can conduct virtual appointments seamlessly without fail. 

Look for a platform that has been used successfully in practice with proven availability and is both HIPAA and GDPR compliant.

VirTrial’s digital patient engagement platform is available for use on any device, including patients’ personal devices (Apple, Android, tablet and/or computer) and will work for any research site globally. We support a hybrid model with some visits on site and some virtually.

The platform is in use at over 1700 hospitals, conducting 100,000 virtual visits per day, supports multiple languages, and provides access to medically certified translators. It is hosted in a secure, cloud-based environment that is HIPAA and GDPR compliant. 

For more information, visit the VirTrial Solutions pages for sponsors, CROs, and research sites


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