Everything these days is becoming automated, thanks to advances in digital technology. But is more technology always good thing? Here's a brief look at the pros and cons of selected digital technologies – with a special focus on clinical research.
Let's start with the most obvious (and most prevalent): Smartphones
PRO: Instant access to the internet, anytime, anywhere. Millions of apps can help you perform virtually any task in seconds. Your entire contact list, all in one place. Easy, instant communication via text, email, or phone call.
CON: You don't remember anyone's phone number. You have thousands of virtual friends – but few actual conversations. Once, you nearly walked into a pole while responding to an important text.
To point you in the right direction: GPS (aka Sat Nav) technology
PRO: Never get lost. No more printing out directions or (gasp) reading a map. All you need is an address and a device, and step-by-step, real-time directions are yours.
CON: Over-reliance on automated directions could leave you driving into a pond. Map-reading skills are going the way of the fax machine.
For when the work day's over: Digital Video Recorders
PRO: You never have to watch commercials again. Rushing home to watch your favorite show? A thing of the past.
CON: You lose track of time while watching your recorded shows and stay up too late. You miss those few commercials that are actually worth watching. There are too. many. choices!
So how about automation technologies specifically designed for clinical research? Here's a look at some of the top advances of the past 10 years:
Electronic Data Capture (Cloud-Based)
PRO: Fewer mistakes. More convenient access to data. Accelerated trial timelines. Reduced cost. Easier compliance with regulatory requirements. Enhanced security and privacy of data. We could go on.
CON: That's a tough one. Reduced revenue for paper companies, perhaps?
Electronic Endpoint Adjudication
PRO: A 33% reduction in timelines. Better quality control. Seamless EDC integration. Happier adjudicators. The confidence that comes with being in the company of top research organizations, like Harvard.
CON: If you really, really enjoy preparing and shipping 3-inch binders, you might be disappointed.
PRO: Secure, reliable, automated randomization. Elimination of human bias. Ability to meet any stratification factors. Integration with inventory management and dispensing systems.
CON: Clinical Operations professionals might have a lot of extra time on their hands!
DICOM Image Management
PRO: Ability to collect, transport and access DICOM images right in your data capture platform. Easy, efficient workflows involving DICOM images. Effortless compliance with privacy guidelines. Fewer errors.
CON: No more stacks of CD cases to give your office that "college dorm room" ambiance.
Unsurprisingly, we at eClinicalOS think automation in clinical trials is a very, very good thing. Want to read more on the subject? Download our latest article, "Digital Automation in Clinical Trials: The Promise and Potential." Here's to the transformative power of technology!