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offer your study volunteers remote specimen collection

by Neoteryx | 2 min read

shutterstock_1582331125Remote clinical trials can help overcome the traditional obstacles and interruptions in clinical studies. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a new opportunity to pursue the remote approach to research. Remote specimen collection has now become one of the new norms in research.

In 2020, researchers realized most study volunteers preferred to stay away from research centers and clinical trial sites. Remote volunteer participation seemed like the only option to avoiding interruptions in study progress. This was made possible by the use of remote specimen collection devices like Mitra® devices from Neoteryx. The offsite approach also incorporates telehealth communication methods like video chats, and sometimes includes remote monitoring tools like portable smart watches or heart monitors.

Other applications for remote approaches include:

  • Adverse event monitoring
  • Monitoring of medication adherence
  • Remote assessment that entails using digital platforms to capture data in real-time
  • Remote recruitment, screening and digital consent

Decentralized Clinical Trials

Long before the coronavirus pandemic, researchers at several organizations were examining remote approaches to research. Most have been moving towards virtual clinical trials or decentralized clinical trials to allow study volunteers to participate in studies from home. Researchers provide the study subjects with portable devices and specimen collection kits for home use.

Using telehealth communications, the clinical study staff can follow-up with the volunteers at home. This approach has played a role in boosting study enrollment and volunteer recruitment, while reducing the inconvenience or common barriers of clinical trials. Trial volunteers often cite travel burdens, busy schedules, numerous facility visits, and uncomfortable specimen collection events as barriers to their participation.

Benefits of Remote Research, Clinical Trials

One benefit of moving research offsite is being able to expand accessibility to wider populations. Using remote tools and digital platforms, researchers can now target demographics outside their localities. They can directly reach volunteers that were previously unreachable — volunteers that wanted to participate in studies, but could not do so due to obstacles of time and distance.

Remote research studies and trials also come at lower costs, because they require fewer staff members and less time. Remote trial models allow for fewer test sites, even for multi-center trials.

Overall retention of study participants is better because it’s easier to participate without commuting to the trial site. 

A Trend Toward Personalized Care at Home

There has been a shift to "person-centric" and self-managed healthcare at home. With this approach trending in many countries around the world, it makes sense to apply the personalized or person-centric approach to research studies, clinical trials, and public health studies.

Researchers can benefit significantly by offering at-home health kits and remote devices to study participants for the self-collection of biological samples. By bringing the study directly to a participant's home, researchers will have more success collecting a sufficient number of samples for analysis, especially if using proven remote devices that have been used successfully in home environments for previous studies. Many researchers have had great success with the remote Mitra® devices based on VAMS® technology from Neoteryx, as illustrated by more than 150 study papers in peer-reviewed publications.

For more insights into remote approaches to research and clinical trials, listen to our podcast with Anders Millerhovf of CTC Sweden and Dr. Remco Koster of ICON.

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Originally published Apr 5, 2021 9:00:00 AM, updated on September 27, 2022


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