COVID-19 helps boost the move toward virtual trials

ERT survey indicates many companies and organziations are implementing elements of virtual trials due to the pandemic

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PHILADELPHIA—ERT, an expert in clinical endpoints data collection, announced on June 3 the results of a recent industry survey that indicate an acceleration in the adoption of virtual clinical trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the survey report, “Virtual Trials and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The State of the Industry,” 82 percent of clinical trial professionals polled stated that their organizations are incorporating virtual trial technologies due to the pandemic.
Government-imposed stay-at-home orders have posed a challenge to clinical trial sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs) as traditionally, clinical trials revolve around patients’ physical access to investigative sites. An alternative to this is the virtual clinical trials paradigm in which patients are at the center of new medical product development and elements of the process such as screening, visits and data transmission are managed electronically from remote locations.
According to the survey, which was conducted by ERT in April and May of this year:
  • The biggest issue keeping participants up at night is screening for new clinical trials patients (79 percent)
  • The primary issues impacting trials over the next six to twelve months are trial management (32 percent) and patient recruitment and enrollment (25 percent)
  • The most common ways to collect data in a virtual clinical trial are telehealth (75 percent) and patient-used devices (75 percent)
“There are many benefits to virtual clinical trials,” said Jim Mahon, vice president and chief strategy and marketing officer at ERT. “They are safer and more convenient for patients and more cost-effective for sponsors and CROs. Patient recruitment is easier, drop-out rates are lower, timeframes are shorter, and endpoint data is more accurate.
“The acceleration we’re seeing in the adoption of virtual clinical trials is a net positive for all stakeholders. It allows for the continuation of critical studies during COVID-19, and more patient-focused and efficient studies post-pandemic. We look forward to witnessing how these powerful technologies impact the availability of life-changing therapies and treatments.”
You  can download the report at

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