Driven by adaptations to clinical trial implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic, decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) are quickly gaining momentum.
The result: The global DCT market size is predicted to hit a revenue of a whopping USD 4,508.2M in 2028–up from $1,675.5M in 2022, and growing at a CAGR of (Compound Annual growth rate) of 9.8% during the forecast period between 2023 and 2029–according to a report by Precision Business Insights.
The market is majorly driven by a boom in R&D operations and the execution of the long-overdue digitalisation of the healthcare sector, i.e., telehealth. In addition, technological improvements and coalitions between biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and clinical research organisations (CRO) incentivised by the government are poised to double down the growth of the DCT market.
On top of that, the DCT market got a massive push as the world, as well as the on-site clinical research process, was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach to conducting ongoing and upcoming clinical trials got overhauled after the wake of the pandemic, facilitating the development and roll-out of life-improving therapeutics.
Initially, the pandemic and the public health measures implemented to contain it considerably affected clinical research. With intensifying apprehensions caused by the pandemic, over two-thirds of trials were smacked by participant enrollment halts. As a result, more than 200 companies were forced to stop or postpone the trial processes, with mid-stage tests being affected the most. However, later on, COVID-19 catalysed the adoption of DCTs, helping the MedTech industry identify novel prospects for modernisation. The pandemic has made trial sponsors realise the potential benefits of DCT model implementation. By improving the effectiveness of remote trial activities, DCTs can significantly fill the diversity gaps in healthcare research while shifting the paradigm to a much higher enrollment and retention rate for improved trial success rate.
The report underscores the increasing adoption of high-end digital technologies as another leading factor aiding DCT market expansion. By facilitating clinical trial operations and data management, digital features help efficiently augment DCT, thus accelerating product to market. A confluence of avant-garde digital services and technologies, like telehealth, wearables, electronic data collection systems, etc., has helped participants contribute to clinical research from the comfort of their homes. Cloud-based DCT solutions, such as ObvioHealth, incorporate ePRO, AI-powered eConsent, and eCOA capabilities. These solutions capture, integrate, and analyse precise multi-source data, enabling clinical research teams to remove friction and effortlessly forge stronger therapeutic evidence.
However, concerns around patient data privacy and regulatory roadblocks are likely to hamper the adoption of decentralised clinical trials. As a new approach, DCTs still don’t have a well-defined regulatory framework, thereby creating ambiguity regarding the oversight of trial procedures and governing statutes. That said, while the regulatory landscape is constantly evolving, sponsors must ensure they design DCT study models that comply with the latest regulatory guidelines.
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