In the previous parts of this series, we looked at how digital health care data has become such an essential concern for practitioners, researchers, and manufacturers of medical devices. With the ability to use the information of real patients to solve real problems, technology is developed faster and reaches patients when they need it.
While only touched upon briefly, this final part of the series will look at the area in which digital health data stands poised to make the most significant impact on the future of healthcare: clinical trials. These trials are essential to bringing a product to market as they show real data about usage that can be used to measure efficacy and safety.
But identifying target patients, building a sample size, and holding interventions, again and again, can take years, which for medical devices can be a lethal waiting period before products go to market. New technology is being developed daily, and what may have been cutting edge a couple of years ago could now be outdated.
Rather than loosening regulatory restrictions on manufacturers, the FDA and NIH have made it easier for researchers to access needed data — from anywhere — thanks to the building of virtual reference databases like the NIH Collaboratory Living Textbook of Pragmatic Clinical Trials and ClinicalTrials.gov.
As with any health data, no personal information is ever included, nor are any identifying factors. Patients are willing participants and provide consent, as with any standardized testing. The key benefit is that practitioners and researchers alike can access valuable information without needing to wait or spend undue money on trial components that can be demonstrated elsewhere. That means devices can go to market faster, making a positive impact on patients’ lives around the globe.