Virtual Clinical Trials and the Future of Patient Experience

November 5, 2020 Scott O'Connell

The Expansion of Virtual Clinical Trials  

COVID-19 increased pharma companies' desire to pilot or further enhance their digital clinical trials. These trials will be strategic differentiators for pharma companies that can scale small-scale learnings and succeed in global markets and languages. Many pharma leaders recognize the need for a unified global platform to move beyond a fragmented patient experience.    

Pharma healthcare professional provides telemedicine services to a woman at home on a tablet

Digital clinical trials can also make drug discovery studies more convenient for the patients who participate in them.  From digital consent to home visit operations to wearable data monitoring and telemedicine, virtual clinical trials can help increase awareness, address patient fears, and engage patients with differentiated support and guidance.    

Bringing Convenience to the Patient Experience 

Not every clinical study can be done at home. Specific assessments, such as MRIs, radiation therapy, and invasive therapies, can only be safely conducted in a brick-and-mortar location with medical staff. Blood draws, blood pressure monitoring, and weigh-ins can be undertaken safely at home, reducing the patient's burden.  

Asian mother and infant in their dining room talking to a young female doctor via tablet

Focus Areas for Patient-centricity in Healthcare 

  • Managing diverse patient populations with different diseases, as well as varied financial and travel needs.  
  • Getting patient feedback before launching onsite or digital clinical trials.  
  • Managing patients’ preferences with technology and giving them more ways to participate.  
  • Connecting inclusion and exclusion clinical criteria to patients’ demographics and their wants and needs.  
  • Simplify management for patients and reduce the burden on them.  
  • Engage patient advocacy groups in protocol design.   
  • Use technologies to close the gaps between fragmented experiences.    
  • Apply AI and predictive insights on patients who are at risk of dropping out and determine which sites have higher enrollment.  

Finding the Right Patient for the Right Study   

Finding the right patient for the right trial is one of the most significant, costly barriers to conducting an effective trial.  

A unified platform can help pharma companies conducting trials better understand patient needs. Going to patients directly for feedback and involving patient advocacy groups will also help pharma companies build personas and effectively advertise to those patients. Companies can also use lead-generation tactics to turn anonymous (or unknown) users into known prospective patients.  

Closing the Patient Experience Gap with a New Nephrology Drug 

Wipro worked with a large pharma company in New York that wanted to ensure a specialty nephrology drug delivered the expected health outcomes, repeat prescriptions, and patient satisfaction.  

Virtual Clinical Trials digital data presentation on a large smart screen with group of pharma and medical professional analyzing the outcomes of clinical trials


Wipro conducted requirement gathering sessions with:   

  • The medical team to understand the details of drug usage and pathology for vital signs analysis.  
  • The brand team to gain a deeper understanding of the company’s values, mission, and experience.  
  • The compliance team to understand regulations and compliance around patient data privacy and drug administration safety guidelines.  

Working together, we were able to reduce fragmented efforts and keep 2,000 physicians informed through a Medical Devices Directive Class I platform-independent mobile app. Wipro digitized a medical algorithm into software for the first time, enabling physicians to analyze vital post-transplant parameters and assess transplant rejection risks.  

Physicians could also: 

  • Keep an eye on cardiovascular risks with a CV risk calculator. 
  • Accurately calculate the drug’s dosage based on the patient’s vitals and history with a dosage calculator. 
  • Get one-touch access to all clinical, medical, and safety information related to the drug, including constitution, reconstitution instructions, dilution, administration protocols, storage, and more. 

Protecting Sensitive Data with Secure Access 

To protect patient’s sensitive data, Wipro developed a security feature so that only registered physicians could use the app. The security process validated credentials with the master ANA DB server, and web services enabled the mobile app to connect to the server through the cloud. The integration was designed with security in mind, with the mobile app on the cloud and the in-house server behind a firewall.  

Additionally, Wipro’s in-house regulatory expert ensured the app had robust human error correction mechanisms by conducting in-person sessions with the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) HCP group.  

Virtual Clinical Trial App Benefits and Results  

  • Created a more patient-centric approach and reduced the risk of post-transplant adverse and fatal events. 
  • Enabled quick responses to allergic reactions through real-time updates.  
  • Increased revenue by 30% with prescriptions for 2.5 million patients. 
  • Offered a unified, consistent patient experience and increased brand recall.  

Ready to learn more digital clinical trials?  

Want more resources on patient-centricity in healthcare?
Ideas on how to approach virtual clinical trials in the wake of COVID-19? Or, how to deliver a unified patient experience across mobile, social media, and desktop? 

Get in touch with an Appirio digital expert.

About the Author

Scott O'Connell

Scott O'Connell is the Senior GTM Manager of Appirio's Health and Life Science vertical. He is an experienced marketing professional with a successful track record of helping companies bring products to market, improving their brand awareness, and fostering customer engagement.

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