October 19, 2021
An understanding of human nature suggests that in a post-COVID-19 era for clinical trials, the pendulum may temporarily swing away from the increased adoption of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) and hybrid approaches that we’ve been witnessing and revert to something more closely resembling the traditional, in-person trial conduct practitioners and patients had been used to before 2020. However, Dave Hanaman, chief commercial officer for Curavait Clinical Research, sees “steep continued growth” in the years to come for new technologies and approaches that he believes can significantly advance the quality and reach of clinical trials.
“DCTs present a new opportunity to meet patients wherever they are,” says Hanaman. The approach they offer represents “an effective way to bring the trial to the patients,” he adds.
Acknowledging some industry “growing pains” as hybrid trials and DCTs have begun to take hold, Hanaman warns that some hybrid approaches are “the worst of both worlds,” with too heavy a physical footprint and overuse of technology.
However, Hanaman sees “strong levels of adoption” for hybrid trials in the next five to 10 years. “Much of the resistance has dropped,” he explains. “I think their use will be taken for granted” in the years to come, he says.
Hanaman is excited, too, about how hybrid trials and DCTs can expand the reach of clinical trials. In addition to traditionally underserved patient populations like African Americans and Hispanics, Hanaman notes the new technology and approach could improve trial access for native American and rural white populations. “Native American populations are often very far away from physical research sites,” he notes.
Further, internet coverage, long an obstacle to increased use of telehealth and DCTs, has improved in many of even the most geographically remote parts of the United States, Hanaman says.
DCTs and hybrid trials represent “a tremendous opportunity for patients and science,” he says. “I see so much more enthusiasm for [such approaches] to be included in trial design, and [they] will help us better reach the patients we’ve been missing.”