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BYOD for clinical trials: fact v. fiction

Friday, May 1, 2015

There is enthusiasm for the “bring your own device” (BYOD) models for clinical trials, especially for collection of electronic clinical outcome assessments (eCOAs) from patients and clinicians. Sponsors are excited about the opportunity to reduce costs—provisioning touchscreen devices for patients and sites can cost one third of a typical eCOA System.

Additionally, there is conjecture around the possibility BYOD models could increase patient satisfaction and eDiary compliance, as patients may prefer using their own devices to enter clinical data.

But pharma needs to be realistic about whether the patient population is ready for BYOD. I

n psychology, there is a term called the “False-Consensus Bias,” a cognitive bias whereby a person tends to overestimate the extent to which his/her beliefs, preferences, values and habits are the norm.

The False-Consensus Bias is playing a role in the BYOD for eCOA debate: Many pharma industry professionals are active and enthusiastic smartphone users. And yet, the average penetration rate of smartphones in the U.S. is just 58% across all age groups and 30% for ages 55+. In a recent study of diabetes and depression patients in the Boston area, just 50% of patients had smartphones and were familiar with touchscreens. While many patients may be willing to use their own devices for research data collection, the data suggest many will have no device to bring.

Mobile technology will transform clinical research and patient experiences. However, there always will be a need for flexible solutions and options for patient-driven data streams. BYOD for eCOA is a great option for certain types of trials, but it is not a cure-all that will dramatically cut costs.


Written by Guest Writer Sheila Rocchio, MBA. Rocchio is vice president of marketing and corporate strategy at PHT. She has changed the face of clinical trial management by introducing new patient-focused technologies that make adopting eCOA systems a sound scientific and business decision. www.phtcorp.com

This article was reprinted from Volume 22, Issue 05, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.comSubscribe >>

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