As clinical trials prepare to return to their normal activities, it’s clear things will not be as they once were. During the pandemic, any reliable CRO like Veristat has had to use remote monitoring to conduct research trials. More than a year later, it has been noted that researchers find it better to use a combined risk approach to carry out the monitoring. However, this new adaptation has resulted in cost impacts in different capacities, as discussed below.
Comparison with On-Site Monitoring
The cost of remote monitoring, when compared to on-site monitoring, is less expensive. This is because there is no travel cost incurred when reviewing the research documents. The monitor does not also incur the cost of accommodation and upkeep. On-site monitoring would initially spend these costs. Overall, remote monitoring reduces the amount spent by the Clinical Research Organization.
Adoption of New Technology
While remote monitoring reduces the costs of travel and accommodation, it creates other costs. First, there is the cost incurred in adopting new methods of conducting clinical trials monitoring virtually. Investments go towards acquiring an Electronic Data Capture System to gain secure access to data. Other forms of technology may need to be purchased to manage participants and track files and share them. Remote monitoring also means one has to have access to the required equipment for the research trials to continue smoothly. These adoptions require capital investments which in turn increase the cost of the research.
Cost of Training
As mentioned, remote monitoring comes with new technology. This new technology requires technical knowledge to operate and use; thus the research monitors have to be fully trained. Training may also take time depending on the complexity of the equipment to be used. Studies show that nearly 40% of researchers face challenges in using electronic file-sharing systems and new technology. Hence the need for training, which further increases the cost of virtual trials.
Hiring a Clinical Monitor
It is a big challenge to find a qualified clinical trials monitor. To curb this, most researchers turn to contract research organizations to carry out remote monitoring. These Research Organizations also offer oversight for compliance with all clinical trial policies. They also train the clinical trial team.
Remote Monitoring Visits
Remote monitoring requires the research monitors to have access to all the documents and files needed for their visits. This can take some time since the documents and files must be scanned and uploaded in the electronic file-sharing system. This procedure not only increases the time spent in the mentoring but also increases the cost.
While the virtual clinical trial is a good option with the current pandemic, it attracts other additional costs for the overall clinical trial to be successful. There is a need to adopt new technologies such as the electronic file-sharing system. This technology requires the clinical research monitor to have basics skills to use it. There is also the need to hire a qualified monitor and prepare for the visits; all this can increase the trial’s overall costs.