The already substantial collaboration between tech and medicine should be encouraged and financed post-pandemic to make conduct of clinical trials more convenient, efficient AND DEMOCRATIC. More can be done at home using existing devices and equipment. Telemedicine should continue to be expanded and the efficiencies that have been achieved during the pandemic through telemedicine, remote monitoring, consent flexibility and other novel trial accommodations should continue. The regulators need to be brought on board to ensure that these efficiencies are able to continue after things return to “normal”. The effort is already well underway but needs continued financial, legal and political encouragement. Multidisciplinary approaches in all areas should be encouraged.
When the pandemic hit last year, clinical trials took a hit. Universities closed, and hospitals turned their attention to battling the new disease. Many studies that required repeated, in-person visits with volunteers were delayed or scrapped. But some scientists found creative ways to continue their research even when face-to-face interaction was inherently risky. They mailed medications, performed exams over video chat and asked patients to monitor their own vitals at home.