How Telemedicine Affects Clinical Trials Post-COVID-19

June 2, 2020

Regulatory changes and doctor-patient attitude changes due to COVID-19 are rapidly transforming telemedicine with a direct and positive effect on clinical trials.

Falling Barriers to Telemedicine Adoption

Long standing impediments slowing adoption of telemedicine, like debates over effectiveness, willingness of patients to accept it, and issues concerning licensure and insurance reimbursement have been swept away by COVID-19 dynamics and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that has removed bureaucratic barriers to digital health. 

Social Distancing Made Telehealth a Necessity

Shelter-in-place orders made seeing a doctor difficult. Telemedicine was a way to provide care without the risk of in-person visits. Forced by circumstances to try telemedicine, both patients and doctors experienced its benefits first hand. Better access to care regardless of geographic location, with greater convenience and lower cost are driving further appreciation and use of remote care. Removing Regulatory Barriers to Telehealth before and after COVID-19, the white paper released by the Brookings Institution on May 6, 2020, details the transforming.

Delivering on the Promise of Health Information Technology

Connecting to patients remotely facilitates the use of health information technology in recording and monitoring vital signs and in managing conditions. Technology makes it easier for multiple specialists to collaborate in providing care. Patients appreciate digital health technologies that work like virtual assistants managing everything from appointments to taking prescription on time.

Telehealth Will Impact Clinical Trials

The ability to incorporate telemedicine and aspects of remote care into clinical trials will transform clinical research at a time when demand for testing new treatments is skyrocketing. Bringing in telehealth aspects to the traditional clinical trial or replacing traditional approaches with telemedicine and remote care protocols altogether will bring benefits to clinical trial sponsors, CROs and patients:

  • Faster timelines to speed bringing innovations to market
  • Lower costs from start to finish
  • New and diverse populations to improve understanding of how treatments affect different types of patients
  • Better completion rates for consistency and quality
  • Better patient experience with faster enrollment, easier interaction, and a higher standard of care

Though COVID-19 will fade into history books, the impact of the pandemic on telemedicine and clinical research will endure. For patients and clinical trial sponsors, the new normal will be a better normal.