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Adapting to Virtual Clinical Trials with Technology | Medidata Blog

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How CROs Adapt to Sponsors’ Desired Levels of Virtual Clinical Trials

Sponsors depend on CROs to adapt—biopharmas outsource roughly 50% to CROs, and that percentage continues to grow each year. CROs who quickly adapt to virtualization gain an edge to compete and outperform, and the opportunity to rise above industry challenges. Virtualization requirements constantly evolve as study teams adapt to ongoing disruptions, including patients missing hospital visits, sites closing or being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, or interruptions to the clinical supply chain.

Remote stakeholders’ engagement, ability to assess end-points virtually, shipment of investigational products directly to patients, and site-level outreach to ensure monitoring are a few of many virtualization initiatives promptly deployed, amidst assuring data and study integrity.

To accommodate hybrid and fully virtual study designs, CROs often work across multiple technology vendors and a host of digital tools. However, cross-functional risks may outweigh their ability to respond to their sponsors’ demands. Limitations on interoperability and adaptability, congestion across data sources, and technology failure can result in slower deployments, scalability issues, and unexpected overhead costs. With the right technology and operational agility, CROs are equipped to:

  • Rapidly reduce patient and site burden
  • Support seamless data flow between key stakeholders
  • Scale to desired levels of virtualization across multiple trials
  • Enable custom trial design, balancing onsite and virtual points for seamless patient experience
  • Support remote electronic consent and remote use of eCOA tools by patients
  • Ensure reduction in site visits with remote assessments

According to Claude Price, director of clinical data management at Quanticate, “There is no doubt that virtual trials are going to become more prevalent. At the same time, clients will be looking to reduce costs. This means working with Medidata—where the scope of the platform can be adapted—will be critical to future project success.”


Leveraging a platform-as-a-service approach from a preferred technology vendor gives CROs access and control across all trial virtualization technologies. All categories of virtualization have been pre-identified and an end-to-end range of technologies delivers the required solutions across all sites, patients, and sponsors on one single platform. On-demand, customizable, and scalable, the platform not only helps simplify processes, ensure consistent reliable data, mitigate risk, and improve efficiencies, it assures CROs are first to adapt and to respond to opportunities.

Download The Ultimate Guide to Trial Virtualization: CRO Edition for a comprehensive guide to navigating complex virtualization requirements while delivering for your sponsors.

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Paul Oliver