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Importance of Real-Time Adherence Data During Clinical Trials

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Clinical trails are observational or interjectional studies. People who suffer from illnesses or diseases that that clinical trial is focusing on can volunteer and participate in these trials in return for potential medical benefits.

An interjectional study researches different procedures, drugs, or lifestyle ways that may affect patients with a certain health conditions.

An observational study studies varying trends in groups of patients who all suffer from the same health condition. For instance, a similar group of women might be observed to see how they react to certain medications if they all suffer from depression and anxiety.

However, participants doing clinical trials correctly and adhering to their course of medical treatment flawlessly is another story. It is becoming an increasing concern within the medical industry and new ways are being sought after to help improve medical adherence during important clinical trials. These issues critical because they affect the cost of the study and increase the budget drastically, but it can alter the results of the trial as well and produce faulty results.

Here are some staggering statistics regarding general medical adherence in the United States:

  • “Among hypertensive patients 89,000 premature deaths could be avoided each year with appropriate medication treatment.
    • Common behaviors include:
    • 1 in 2 people missed a dose
    • 1 in 3 forgot if they took the med
    • 1 in 4 did not get a refill on time
  • 1 in 5 Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. Half of them are considered to be non-adherence.
  • Between 41% and 59% of mentally ill patients take their medication infrequently or not at all. This contributes to larger societal issues including unemployment, homelessness, and suicide.
  • According to CVS, nearly 50% of people with a prescription for a chronic condition like cardiovascular disease stop taking it within the first year.
  • CVS/Caremark research indicates that 68 percent of physicians are interested in receiving notices if patients become non-adherent.”

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With such an issue with medical adherence in both clinical trials and with regular patients who are on their own to comply with their medical regimen, we must seek solutions that are easy to implement and easy for patients to use and follow.

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What is the Solution?

Simple practices can be put into place that make medical adherence more accurate, especially during the process of important clinical trials. Real-time adherence data is a comprehensive solution that can keep clinical trial technicians updated with their patient’s adherence during all phases of the trial.

Remote coaching through videos allow the doctors or the technicians to communicate in real-time with the patients to address and problems, questions, or concerns either party is having. This can clear up any confusing instructions and make sure adherence is running smoothly.

Smart pill bottles are another way adherence can be improved. The bottle could notify the technician when the person fails to open the bottle at the time they should take their medication. These can be programed differently for different trials and subjects so they are always customizable. The technician could then request a video call or sent a notification to the patient to remind them to take their medication. Some smart pill bottles can also detect the amount of pill left in the bottle with certain sensors that detect the bottle’s weight. All of this information is then sent in real-time back and forth to technicians, doctors, and patients.

Real-time information is imperative because is lessens the room for error on both the patient and the technician behalf. This data sent from smart and connected devices allows the adherence technician to get in front of the problem before it becomes a big enough problem it will affect the results of the study.

These two solutions are just a couple of examples of the ways that data can be sent to technicians in real-time to ensure clinical trial participants are following their medication schedule properly.