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Reduce Clinical Trial Costs - 5 Ways that Decentralized Clinical Trial Approaches Save Money

Cassidi Williams

The use of decentralized clinical trial approaches (DCTs) is on the rise. One reason for this growth is the ability of DCTs to help reduce study costs. Following are five ways that DCTs can make research more cost-effective.

#1: Improved Recruitment

DCTs can make clinical trial participation easier and more accessible to a wider group of potential participants. This is huge, as the industry is working hard to increase inclusivity of studies. With DCTs, sponsors can move beyond recruiting solely from patients who live near major hospitals and academic centers. Opening studies up to more participants can help to widen the participant pool, reducing the need to over-enroll based on anticipated attrition, and enabling studies to be more cost-effective.

#2: Shifting Some Visits to Telehealth

On-site visits are a major cost driver in clinical research, thus eliminating the need for some visits can have a significant impact on study budgets. Telehealth visits can cost as much as 50% less than in-person clinical visits for the research sponsor.

#3: Reducing Study Administration Costs

Clinical trial administration costs can account for 11% to 29% of study budgets(ii) and are made up of a broad range of costs ranging from employee time (administrative staff, clinical staff, etc.) to site location-specific costs like diagnostic testing, imaging and more. These costs increase as the number of sites and participants increases. Reducing the number of in-clinic visits and improving automation of data flow/cleaning enables the sites to reduce overhead and increase efficiency with DCT approaches.

#4: Eliminating Source Data Verification

Source data verification (SDV), the process by which data in the case report forms (CRF or eCRF) are compared to the source of information to ensure accuracy, adds significant labor cost as well as costs resulting from errors made during the data transcription process. Costs related to SDV account for approximately 25% of clinical trial budgets.

DCT approaches allow data to be entered directly from the source, participants, caregivers, clinicians, etc., eliminating the need for SDV, resulting in significant cost savings.

#5: Improved Retention and Better Engagement

Replacing participants who drop out of studies or are withdrawn due to poor compliance adds cost. To improve retention, participant engagement is critical, and platforms such as those used in DCTs can be utilized to facilitate easy communication between participants and the study team. Participants can receive feedback and information throughout the study, keeping them up to speed on how they are doing and how the study overall is performing. Remote technologies facilitate transparent and constant communication between participants and clinicians and can provide participants real-time access to their own data. This helps to instill a sense of ownership in participants, resulting in better engagement and helping keep retention high.

For more details on how DCTs can reduce clinical research costs, check out our recent report on the topic. For additional information on how THREAD can help you optimize your clinical trials, visit THREADResearch.com

(ii) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295430/