Blog 4 minute read

Three ways to transform eCOA – Let’s Frame the Future

By: Kyle Hogan, Executive Vice President, Strategy, Datacubed Health

The COVID-19 pandemic created tectonic shifts across industries – including clinical trials. The inability to rely on traditional face-to-face interactions and paper-based processes propelled trials into the digital age. Industry thought leaders seem to agree that there’s no going back. (The sentiment even has a hashtag: #NoGoingBack.) And yet, I believe that this rallying cry misses more critical opportunities. Beyond refusing to return to old ways of operating or insisting that we be “better” at doing the same things. 

This is our chance to frame the future. 

How do we want to transform electronic clinical outcome assessments (eCOAs) – including electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) – to drive better patient engagement in the short, mid and long term? There are many possible answers to that question. For the purposes of this post, I’d like to focus on three opportunities to frame the future.

Let’s think far beyond virtual visits. 

The pandemic necessitated a massive shift from in-person to virtual visits. Now that we’ve proven this approach is possible – for patients and for sites – how could we extend the model even more? Imagine being able to integrate eConsent into your trial app, eliminating the need for a patient to visit a site for that process. Imagine patients being able to schedule (and reschedule, if necessary) and launch virtual visits using that same app. Even better, imagine the ability to automate the collection of data generated by patients’ wearables and other sensors. These ideas are not so far out of reach. We just need the courage to press ahead and bring them to reality.

Let’s make BYOD the SOP for all trials.

Even in 2021, many sponsors persist in providing trial-specific mobile devices for participants. Imagine if you were in a patient’s position; you have your own smartphone that you use for multiple activities. If you forget it, you will probably go back to get it. But now you have to carry an additional device that can only be used for participating in the trial. If you forget this device, you are more likely to just carry on with your day, which can have a detrimental effect on the data accuracy and completeness.

By embracing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach, you can not only enhance patient engagement and satisfaction, but also the quality of data they provide. Similarly, investigative sites can also benefit greatly from this strategy. By giving them the freedom to use their own devices and providing them with modern, user-friendly apps, you can completely transform their experience.

Let’s unleash the full potential of gamification.

Many individuals still assume that gamification is nothing more than rewards and leaderboards. However, in actuality, gamification is the combination of art and science that makes an application so user-friendly that it attracts and retains users. The top applications utilize gamification to make learning an enjoyable and natural experience. These apps provide novel approaches for collecting eCOA and ePRO data, which eliminates any difficulties for patients and keeps them actively participating and compliant over the duration of a trial. By applying tested principles from behavioral science, we can transfigure technology from a mundane tool into a thrilling experience that patients will not want to miss.

As we frame the future of eCOA, let’s aim not just for a better experience but also for greater adherence and compliance. Let’s improve how we engage patients and sites and collect data from them. Most of all, let’s do a lot more than #NoGoingBack; let’s move forward with a courageous vision for the future.

Take the first step towards a successful future, after all, you’re success is our success. Watch this short video to see how Datacubed’s solution can make your journey more inclusive, engaging, and robust. Unlock the key to your success today!