Mobile Health, Wireless Data and the Future of Clinical Trials 2

Health-related smartphone apps

Photo by IntelFreePress

When we talk to patients about the challenges they face while participating in clinical trials, they tell us that it can be difficult to integrate the study’s requirements into their everyday lives. Providing the amounts and types of data that researchers need for a study can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process, especially when it requires manually filling out journal or log book with details about side effects, vital signs, diet, exercise, treatment efficacy and more.

Significant solutions to these problems will likely come from re-thinking clinical trial design with patients’ needs in mind. But, short-range wireless data transmission technologies—like Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth—can help us to take steps in the right direction.

The healthcare industry is seeing growth in the number of health devices that offer wireless and mobile connectivity. One application of these devices focuses on transferring data about patients to a doctor or health care provider in an effort to manage disease.  Additional potential exists for wireless and mobile devices to be used to make clinical trial participation more efficient, and thereby more convenient, for patients.


Game Developers Offer Interactive Lessons on Clinical Trials 1


Understanding how a clinical trial works is a learning process for patients and their caregivers. And, unfortunately, it can be a frustrating and confusing process when information about trials is not available in a format that’s easily accessible to the learner.

We’ve talked on this blog many times before about the potential gamification and visualization has in making clinical trial information more patient-friendly. We kicked off this series with a blog post about the NHS’s Clinical Trial Simulator, an online game that allows the user to take on the role of a clinical trial volunteer.  And, most recently, we blogged about infographics and how they can be used to present clinical trial information in a way that’s reader-friendly and easy to share on social networks.

Today’s post features another very well-designed and well-executed example of clinical trial gamification and visualization from Rice University called Virtual Clinical Trials. Apps like this one show the growing sophistication of these techniques and remind of us that there are more possibilities than we could even imagine.