The Deep 6 AI team enjoyed a busy few days at MAGI West in Las Vegas last week. Over 700 industry professionals attended more than 100 sessions and workshops to learn from each other about how they can improve their clinical research operations. We joined with 20 other exhibitors to share our software and show how AI is accelerating clinical trial recruitment.
Our booth was buzzing with people interested in seeing our software in action and discussing how it could improve their trial recruitment. We also had the chance to listen to a variety of amazing speakers and customers share best practices on how they manage their research programs. Here are a few takeaways from our time at the conference and conversations with attendees.
Tech is Changing How People Think About Research
In a session discussing where clinical trials are headed in the next 5, 10, and 20 years, panelists shared how they think technology will fundamentally change clinical research in the coming decades. Wearable devices, big data, voice control, and artificial intelligence all came up as technology that will expand and improve clinical trial operations. Panelists also discussed the risks that come with implementing these new technologies and how to manage the tumult of such disruptive forces in the industry.
Tammy Guld, Clinical Innovation, Global Team Lead at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, pointed out that what are now disparate systems have the opportunity to come together into a single experience for patients and practitioners. She pushed companies to work together “pre-competitively” to collaborate on building a cohesive ecosystem for the future of clinical research.
Data is On Everyone’s Mind
With these technological innovations influencing the industry, how data is used and managed was also top of mind. Data protection, ownership, standardization, and usage were discussed at length, with whole sessions devoted to data privacy and use.
In the same panel on the future of clinical research, Dr. Arash Naeim, Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Research at University of California, Los Angeles, reinforced the importance of patients owning their own data as the industry evolves. He also encouraged researchers to still look for ways to think radically about how to take advantage of the additional data being generated by advancing technology.
Quantifying Success is the New Normal
In session after session, clinical research administrators talked about how they are finding new ways to track the effectiveness of their research organizations and to put dollar amounts on their research activities. Clinical research has many downstream institutional benefits that aren’t necessarily captured by trial metrics. Research can also underestimate screening and labor costs when not properly accounted for. By choosing and using the right business intelligence tools, research organizations are making the high-level monitoring of their budgets and operations a priority.
Assessing Protocol Feasibility is Tough
Sessions also covered the myriad of practical challenges researchers face today and best practices to overcome them. Our CEO, Wout Brusselaers, spoke alongside Lindsay Chandler, Clinical Trials Research Administrator at Oregon Health & Science University, in a joint session about “Innovative Methods for Assessing Protocol Feasibility.” With more than 50% of trial sites failing to recruit a single patient, clinical research staff are looking for new ways to make sure they know if a trial will be successful before they agree to take it on. The days of relying on PI’s best estimates are over. Sites recognize they can’t afford to waste any more startup costs on failed trials.
Lindsay outlined the challenges around assessing protocol feasibility and shared a case study where her team had misjudged their ability to recruit for a dermatitis clinical trial. She then outlined the best practices they put in place to improve their protocol feasibility process, including conducting reverse feasibility on the sponsor, building proactive recruitment plans, and tracking study start up metrics.
Wout expanded on these themes by outlining how artificial intelligence is being used to assess feasibility before a trial begins. He outlined how current feasibility assessments require a high amount of guesswork, and AI is allowing sponsors, sites, and researchers to do objective assessments of their patient databases to determine feasibility before accepting a study, saving thousands of hours and billions of dollars on failed trials.
These trends are just some of the fascinating things we’re seeing in the evolution of clinical trials. We’re proud to be working with some of the most innovative institutions in clinical research to leverage technology to more effectively recruit for the trials they’re running today.
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