Clinical Trials, Medical Research

The Concept of Decentralized Clinical Trials

Decentralized clinical trials are expanding research opportunities.

Over the past few years, the concept of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) has gained momentum in medical research. Yet, what exactly do they entail? It’s time to learn the difference in our latest blog!

Centralized VS. Decentralized Clinical Trials

When it comes to medical trials, there are two main approaches: centralized and decentralized. At their core, centralized trials involve a central location where all data and information are collected. In contrast, decentralized trials utilize a network of remote sites and virtual technologies to gather data. Both methods have pros and cons, but the key takeaway is that decentralized trials can offer greater flexibility and reduce barriers to patient participation. However, they also require a heightened reliance on technology and careful planning.

As the need for innovative and efficient study designs continues to grow. Understanding the nuances of centralized and decentralized trials can help researchers make informed decisions and improve the overall clinical trial experience.

Photo of doctor and patient having a video call.

DCTs – Understanding What They Are

In the world of research, decentralization is all the buzz. The concept of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) have represented a significant shift in how trials can be conducted. The modern approach of DCTs avoids the need for patients to visit clinical sites during the study. Thus, moving away from traditional clinical trial structures by integrating technology and innovative processes to decentralize as many aspects of the trial as possible. Allowing patients the luxury to participate in research from the comfort of their homes reduces the burden of travel and makes it ultimately accessible to a broader audience. With the implementation of tools like telemedicine and wearable devices, DCTs offer a more patient-centric approach to clinical trials, and who knows the world of possibilities that may arise?

The Enrollment Process – How They Differ

The onboarding process can vary greatly depending on whether a clinical trial is centralized or decentralized.  In a centralized trial, a team handling this process face-to-face is required, providing a personal touch that can be comforting to patients. Decentralized trials will consist of e-consent forms, live chats, multifactor identification, and virtual training to carry out the process remotely, offering a convenient and time-efficient alternative to a usually lengthy process. Despite the differences in their execution, both methods share a common goal: to ensure that participants are equipped with the necessary information and resources as they participate in the study.

How Far Can Decentralized Trials Go?

Clinical trials have always been a cornerstone of healthcare research. But in this increasingly digital age, the question of how decentralized one can go with them remains. As it turns out, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The ideal degree of decentralization will vary depending on the therapy in question, the patients involved, and the aims of the study. While some trials will have a primarily traditional setup, with all participants present in person. Virtual components can be added to gain efficiency and reduce costs.

However, the real focus should be on more than the technicalities of the approach but instead on the value of the research being conducted. Volunteers are the backbone of any research study, dedicating their time and energy to help further scientific discovery. They are proof that not all superheroes wear capes!

Volunteer for our future. Explore our enrolling studies.At Advanced Research for Health Improvement, we encourage you to learn more about research studies near you. We currently have multiple studies enrolling; click here to learn more! For those looking to schedule an appointment, call 239-230-2021 or feel free to visit our website.