I recently attended OCT New England, which was my first in-person clinical trial conference since the spring of 2020! It felt great to be with so many people from the industry. Pandemic precautions were very much in place, with required Covid screenings and masks.
I was encouraged by the number of presenters discussing fresh solutions. These solutions to industry problems have been put into practice and will be utilized more consistently in the future. I think this was the most common theme from pre-Covid conferences. Some of the presenters even discussed the benefit of Covid, explaining that the pandemic had a positive impact on how they manage their clinical trials. I’m not sure benefit of Covid is a term we were expecting, but I think we understood what they meant.
The topics and case studies discussed by a variety of sponsor and CRO companies included:
- Digitalization of Clinical Trials
- Patient Recruitment and Retention
- Decentralized Clinical Trials
- Wearables and Digital Health Technologies
- Patient Diversity
- Artificial Intelligence
Some presentations really hit the point on growing trends and clinical trial solutions. One panel had a great discussion titled “Is the Pharma Industry Still Too Conservative with Wearable Technology?” They provided a great perspective from both the sponsor and CRO sides on a few key points:
- What wearable technologies are available and accepted by regulatory authorities
- Home monitoring technologies to collect patient data more quickly
- Challenges when shifting to wearable technologies while ensuring patient safety
- Infrastructure requirements for wearables and large multi-regional trials
- How wearables are being more widely used to help with reimbursement
Dr. Isaac Rodriguez-Chavez of ICON provided an interesting presentation on “Breaking Traditional Trial Barriers with Innovation in Decentralized Clinical Trials Supported by Digital Health Technologies.” He provided excellent information and visuals that supported his subject. Too often, people simply think of the wearable side of technology in a conceptual sense, but his visual, showing a human body with all the different available sensors, was very impactful.
There were many insightful presentations provided at the conference, and it almost felt like old times (except for the Covid precautions!). I’m looking forward to 2022 with SCOPE just around the corner and other in-person conferences. I hope to see you there.
If you’ve attended an in-person or hybrid conference this year, do you have a preference? Please let me know your thoughts. If you attended OCT New England, what are your thoughts about solutions being incorporated more consistently in trials? Scroll down and share your views in the comment box.