Managing Clinical Trials: How Technology Can Help

Clinical research sites use an average of five different systems to manage their trials, according to a recent survey from Forte Research. As complex as that may sound, clinical trials technology can also help make life easier for clinical research managers and other members of your site's staff, too. Today, there's a piece of technology that can support every part of running a trial at your site, from IRB submission to patient reimbursement.

Below, you'll find an introductory guide to the different pieces of technology that can make up the ecosystem at a research site:


Organizing your trial

Clinical Trial Management Systems (CTMS) are used to manage study startup timelines, track and report protocol information, and manage the study finances. These systems also typically integrate with other tools used throughout a trial, such as patient data. In the Forte survey, 42% of respondents use a CTMS along with two additional systems to manage their trials.

IRB submission

An electronic IRB system allows trial teams to do just what it sounds like: Submit materials to an Institutional Review Board (IRB) electronically, rather than through paper forms. With an eIRB, your team can track the progress of your submission and keep track of sign-offs and next steps.

Clinical trial patient recruitment

Research sites can also use technology to support patient recruitment. Many sites use a patient database at their site as their first approach to recruitment. Recruitment coordinators may also use digital advertising, or work with a patient recruitment company that connects with patients digitally.

There are also self-service digital tools available for managing patient recruitment. For example, Antidote's latest patient recruitment tool, Base, allows sites to view patients with verified health information in a database, then invite them to their trials.

Subject enrollment

One of the first pieces of technology developed for clinical research was the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) and Interactive Web Response System (IWRS). These systems allow users to manage patient enrollment in a blinded study by responding to prompts over the phone or on a computer, keeping patient information and treatment arm information blinded. In the Forte survey, 66% of respondents currently use an IVRS or IWRS.

Clinical trial data management

Electronic Data Capture (EDC) systems are some of the most commonly used tools, with nearly 87% of those surveyed by Forte using them. Sites use EDC to collect data from clinical trial participants. Then, the site's investigator reviews and electronically signs the data to share with the sponsor.

Electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) software is another increasingly popular way to capture data during a clinical trial, this time directly from the patient in the form of e-diaries or apps on an electronic device. Today's ePRO tools integrate with EDC systems to keep all trial data in the same place.

Participant payment systems

If your trial is reimbursing patients for travel or other expenses, digital participant payment systems make it easier to pay patients immediately, in whatever form they prefer, such as through direct deposits or paper checks.

New technology can be frustrating to learn and have high upfront costs, but in the Forte survey, more than half of respondents shared that the digital systems had a positive impact on their productivity. As users become more comfortable with newer systems, that number could go up, too.

Want to learn more about Antidote's digital solutions? Download our case studies to learn more about how we connect patients with research.