The Importance of Technology and Interconnectivity in Clinical Trials

June 10 2022

Evolution and Innovation of Clinical Trials: The Need for Specialization

Interoperability, connectivity, integrations – all terms that are used quite frequently in industries that rely on technology. The clinical research industry is no exception. But why do we talk about technology and integrations? And why is it so important for clinical trials?

Like many industries, clinical research has continued to evolve and with evolution has come innovation. The need for technology in clinical trials is a direct result of its complex nature. There are countless departments, stakeholders, points of data collection and processes – all of which rely on one another yet are often siloed. Technology has helped to streamline and connect these disparate segments in order to drive trial efficiency and clarity.

One hurdle that has arisen, however, is the introduction of numerous technology platforms. Sites especially have noted the multitude of technologies used across studies and even within a single study as being burdensome.

While there are certainly challenges to managing several platforms, there is a justification. A single technology provider does not cover all workflows within clinical research, nor should they. It may seem like the ideal scenario for one platform to address the entire “eClinical ecosystem” but having providers that specialize in specific domains (e.g., clinical payments vs. clinical data capture, etc.) is, in fact, critical. This level of concentrated effort (as opposed to employing a single broad focused full-stack provider across functions) results in true expertise and ensures that the unique challenges and nuances within each niche workflow are appropriately addressed.

Connectivity across the eClinical Ecosystem

This increase in technology and specialized providers has led to a heightened need for – you guessed it – integrations. Connectivity across eClinical systems becomes not just a ‘nice-to-have’ but a vital component to overall study efficiency and effectiveness.

When it comes to integrations, there is not a one-size fits all approach. As there are different organization types within clinical research – Sponsors, CROs, sites, etc. – as well as differing sizes, resources and goals, the method and purpose of integrations implemented may differ. Here are a couple of examples of how integration needs may vary as related to Greenphire’s client-base and solutions.

  • Example 1: A smaller biotech company may be interested in setting up integrations via secure file transfer with a sole objective of streamlining participant registration.
  • Example 2: A large global sponsor or CRO organization may prefer to fully automate their integrations through APIs. In addition, they may be looking for expanded use cases for those integrations, including study setup, automated participant registration, data / activity driven payment execution and financial reporting directly into their ERP.

As these examples note, integrations can be beneficial in supporting a variety of connectivity requirements. The key to success is identifying providers who a.) are experts with a sole focus in their niche (e.g., clinical payments) and b.) have significant experience integrating with other solutions (e.g., EDC, CTMS, IRT, IVRS, ePRO/eCOA, ERP, etc.) and offer resources dedicated to facilitating the integration process.

Ultimately, with the rise of technology in clinical trials, the combination of domain and integration expertise in a provider will help to ensure unmatched capabilities in executing on specific workflows as well as delivering a seamless and scalable experience in connecting your eClinical ecosystem.

Alan Matuszak
Chief Technology Officer
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