ClinicalTrials.gov currently lists 302,091 clinical studies in the US. It is impossible for patients and their doctors to be aware of all clinical trials an individual might be eligible for. While one would expect the trials to be run and supported by sophisticated software, the reality is often far from that expectation. Patients often come to doctors inquiring about trials doctors might not even have been aware of. Trials data is managed manually, in old fashion way — clinical trials are written in a word format, transmitted to sites in pdf files, later on along the process, the data are often manually abstracted from clinical trials to homegrown solutions for analysis in each institution. Data is collected in tailor-made 3rd party systems for different pharma companies and then re-converted to another format for FDA submissions.
There is no doubt: there are plenty of opportunities to improve clinical trials with new technologies. Samuel L. Volchenboum, MD, PhD, MS, is an expert in pediatric cancers and blood disorders, and studies ways to harness computers to enable research and foster innovation using large data sets. He talks about potentials of digital health in clinical trials improvement.