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4th Annual Mobile in Clinical Trials @DPharm Recap

  • September 6, 2017

  • The 4th annual Mobile in Clinical Trials event took place this week in Boston. Dr Daniel Karlin, Head of Experimental Medicine, Informatics & Regulatory Strategy at the Pfizer Innovative Research Lab, kicked off the event with an update on the use of mobile and digital tools in the clinical trials space.

    “What we do is really hard, and a lot of us have become allergic to hype, to under-promising and over-delivering,” Karlin told attendees. “I think we’ve done a lot this year. We’re starting to experience a real community of practice in this space.”

    This year’s Mobile in Clinical Trials event featured in-depth panel discussions, presentations and live demonstrations to illustrate the benefits of using mobile and digital tools in clinical trials.

    Highlights from the Mobile in Clinical Trials event included:

    1. Industry Leaders Discuss How to Overcome Cultural Barriers to Mobile Implementation

    Several industry leaders discussed what it takes to incorporate mobile and digital tools into a clinical trial during a panel discussion titled “Time to Commit: How to Overcome the Cultural Barriers to Mobile Implementation.” The discussion featured insights from the following clinical trials experts:


    • Jeff Lee, CEO, mProve Health


    • Munther Baara, Senior Director, Clinical Paradigm, Pfizer
    • Jacob LaPorte, PhD, Head of Digital Development, Novartis
    • Jane Myles, Head, Operational Intelligence and Innovation, Genentech/Roche
    • Alex Simmonds, Business Partner, Digital Clinical, R&D IT, Bristol-Meyers Squibb

    Healthcare professionals must realize there is no “one-size-fits-all approach” to mobile and digital implementation, Baara said. However, with a collaborative approach to state-of-the-art technologies, healthcare professionals can optimize the value of mobile and digital tools.

    “You’ve got to work bottom-up and top-down and ensure that stakeholders understand the implementation process and benefits of mobile and digital solutions,” Baara stated.

    Additionally, Myles recommended healthcare professionals evaluate a variety of mobile and digital tools. This approach enables healthcare professionals to determine which mobile and digital tools can help them achieve their desired goals.

    “Anyone can innovate on anything, but we need to figure out which things will work for us,” Myles noted.

    2. Verily’s Program Manager Examines the Scalability of Wearables in Clinical Trials

    Tushar Parlikar, Program Manager at Verily Life Sciences, discussed the requirements that healthcare professionals need to follow to scale the deployment of wearables in clinical trials during his Mobile in Clinical Trials presentation.

    According to Parlikar, there are three requirements for using wearables in clinical trials:

    • Collect a rich and complex data set.
    • Provide an engaging user experience.
    • Maintain the capacity to ingest and manage data for hundreds to thousands of devices.

    Furthermore, doing clinical trials at scale requires significant innovation and an ongoing commitment to drive meaningful, engaging patient interactions, Parlikar said.

    3. ActiGraph’s CTO Discusses How to Plan for Mobile Health

    Jeremy Wyatt, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Development at ActiGraph, explained how healthcare professionals can plan for mobile health during his presentation to Mobile in Clinical Trials attendees.

    Ultimately, Wyatt offered seven steps to help healthcare professionals can plan for mobile health:

    • Start with the end in mind.
    • Identify meaningful clinical data (and understand that not all data is meaningful).
    • Consider working with an expert academic partner with past experience.
    • Plan for operational challenges such as battery life, data storage and wearablity issues.
    • Understand that a wearable is a component of an ecosystem.

    • Anticipate the overhead in dealing with monitoring continuous-time data.

    • Build partner-vendor relationships to deliver a comprehensive solution.  

    With this plan in place, healthcare professionals can leverage mobile technologies to drive patient engagement and improve clinical trial outcomes, Wyatt stated.   

    4. Medidata’s VP of mHealth Explores Digital Approaches to Patient Engagement

    Anthony Costello, Vice President of mHealth at Medidata, provided Mobile in Clinical Trials attendees with insights into digital approaches to patient engagement. In his presentation, “Designing an Effective eSource Strategy to Empower Patients with Technology,” Costello indicated mobile and digital technologies empower healthcare professionals to reduce clinical trial risks and increase study efficiency.

    Also, as more healthcare organizations explore integrations, the push for effective electronic data management will increase, Costello said. This may lead to additional hybrid eConsent implementation opportunities in the years to come.  

    “We’re starting to see a lot of hybrid implementation opportunities, especially internationally,” Costello pointed out. “As integrations become more common, electronic data management of consent information will become more necessary.”

    5. Healthcare Innovators Demonstrate Virtual Trial Model Options

    What is a virtual clinical trial? Healthcare innovators from various virtual trial model providers examined the question in detail as part of a panel discussion at the Mobile in Clinical Trials event.

    The panel discussion featured the following participants:

    • Angela Walker, Emergent Strategy Consultant, Clinical Innovation, Eli Lilly & Company
    • Noah Craft, MD, PhD, Co-founder and CEO, Science 37
    • Jeff Frazier, Founder and CEO, THREAD
    • Michelle Longmire, MD, Co-founder and CEO, Medable Inc.
    • David Turner Jr., MS, CISA, CEO, Parallel 6, a PRA Health Sciences company

    Virtual trials can help reduce the patient burden and improve the overall quality of a clinical trial, Turner said. Moreover, these trials may usher in a “new era of healthcare” by empowering healthcare professionals to collect and analyze mobile data like never before, Longmire indicated.

    Although virtual trials may become more prevalent in the near future, healthcare professionals cannot forget about patients’ needs. If healthcare professionals prioritize patient engagement and satisfaction, they can boost the likelihood of successful virtual trials.

    “Understanding what patients want before you start a trial is half the battle. The other half is keeping that going throughout a trial,” Craft stated. “You can overstep. … The key is to take the perspective of the consumer.”

    Next year’s Mobile in Clinical Trials event will take place Sept. 24 in Boston – stay tuned for additional details.