Of all the barriers to success in clinical trials, recruitment is arguably the biggest. It is a slow and expensive part of the process, one that can stretch on months or even years longer than planned. The vast majority of clinical trials fail to meet enrollment deadlines. A 2018 study estimated that 20 percent of people with cancer are eligible to participate in trials for the disease, but fewer than 5 percent do.
The typical process for finding trial participants is labor intensive and costly, often involving sifting through medical records one by one. Given the advances in machine learning, a growing number of researchers are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to dramatically accelerate the process. What once took months now can take only minutes.
Software that uses AI techniques, such as natural language processing, analyzes the structured data in records (think medical codes) and unstructured data (think pathology reports and clinical and surgical notes). It extracts symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, genomics, lifestyle, demographics and thousands of other data points from medical files and sorts the fragments into patient profiles, all while protecting private identifying information. The result is a larger and more tailored pool of potential volunteers delivered exponentially faster.
AI also helps solve problems around volunteer retention. In a traditional scenario, patients are asked to track their medication intake and other detailed data points. Unfortunately, this can lead to inconsistency, resulting in patients dropping out of the trial. On average almost half of patients are non-adherent after 150 days, meaning researchers have to recruit more, forcing costs higher and delaying the study. Instead of asking participants to track their numbers, researchers use AI to collect information through wearable devices and video monitoring. Data points are available in real time automatically, making them instantly useful to investigators—and ensuring ongoing participation.
AI tools that can help optimize your recruitment efforts are part of the best clinical trial management and eClinical solutions available. Check out our How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Trial Feasibility and Recruitment webinar for more information on integrating AI into your clinical research and see our CTMS in action.