The advent of smartphones and other wearable devices have transformed the way clinical trials are being conducted across the world.

The use of digital technologies in clinical trials in the last decade has increased exponentially, according to data from GlobalData’s pharmaceutical, medical devices and clinical trials databases.

While 50 trials specified digital technologies within the trial title or description in 2009 including keywords such as wearable technology, mHealth, smartwatch, fitness tracker, smart clothing, and smartphone, the figure jumped to roughly 550 in 2019.

Furthermore, more than 560 trials in 2020 were found using the same search terms amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

An analysis of GlobalData’s clinical trials databases further reveals that smartphones, usually accompanied by a mobile app, were the most commonly used digital devices (62%) in clinical trials in 2019.

Digitisation of clinical trials

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Digitisation of clinical trials

The wide acceptability of smartphones is due to their easy accessibility, usability, and diminishing cost. Besides smartphones, smart watches and fitness trackers, used in conjunction with a mobile phone and app, have emerged as popular digital devices for clinical trials.