Decentralized Clinical Trials (DCT)

What is a decentralized clinical trial (DCT)?

A decentralized clinical trial (DCT), also known as a virtual clinical trial or remote clinical trial, is a type of clinical trial that uses technology and remote data collection methods to conduct clinical research outside of traditional clinical settings, such as hospitals or research centers. In a decentralized trial, participants can often remain in their own homes or local communities while still actively participating in the study.

DCTs leverage various digital tools and technologies, such as smartphones, wearable devices, telemedicine platforms, and secure online portals, to allow remote data collection, patient monitoring, and communication between participants and researchers. These technologies can facilitate activities like informed consent, electronic data capture (EDC), remote patient monitoring (RPM), electronic patient-reported outcomes, and virtual study visits.

Why are DCTs important for healthcare?

Decentralized clinical trials offer many benefits. These include increased accessibility for participants who may have limited mobility or live in remote areas, reduced burden on participants by eliminating the need for frequent in-person visits, and the potential for real-world data (RWD) collection in participants’ natural environments. DCTs can also improve recruitment and retention rates since they eliminate geographical limitations and allow for broader participant diversity.

However, it’s important to note that not all clinical trials can be conducted in a decentralized manner. Factors such as the nature of the disease or intervention being studied, the availability of suitable technologies, and regulatory considerations may impact the feasibility and appropriateness of decentralized approaches for a particular study.

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