IEEE has announced an initiative to use technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT), and the internet of things (IoT) for clinical trials.

The technical professional organisation will also explore sensors and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) in combination with existing technology systems for enhancing remote clinical trials, from patient recruitment through to FDA submission.

The IEEE and its Standards Association (IEEE SA) named the initiative ‘Technology and Data Harmonization for Enabling Remote Clinical Trials’.

Participants in the initiative are required to develop a consensus-driven workflow that will later be tested against a simulated clinical trial.

Through the initiative, IEEE seeks to maintain efficient and inclusive patient engagement, data integrity, a single original and immutable patient log and decreased time and costs.

The organisation will set up an assimilated forum to assess and test the best methods for achieving data outputs and capabilities that support clinical trials.

The initiative’s chairman Tory Cenaj said: “The estimated $44.2 billion global clinical trials market is facing a number of challenges related to patient recruitment and retention, rising costs to meet regulatory policies, data governance, and more.

“This important project establishes a framework for vastly improving how remote patient clinical trials are conducted by leveraging new technologies to significantly reduce the time and cost of bringing life-saving medicines to market.”

The IEEE SA develops consensus standards via an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stakeholder community.

It has a portfolio of more than 1,250 active standards and over 700 standards under development.