Upon close examination, there are clear benefits of using Telemedicine in clinical trials for all stakeholders - shown by the infographic.
Future of Telemedicine
AI powered technologies can serve as an anchor in automatic interactions with patients.
AI-based healthcare systems could detect symptoms and give information on medications, treatment, appointments etc., and there are many examples of these “monitoring” type applications in the news.
AI supported systems could also potentially improve the speed, accuracy, and precision of the process.
FDA approved the first AI based diagnostic device – which uses a self-optimizing algorithm based on deep learning to diagnose diabetic retinopathy. This algorithm enables a neural network to learn and execute a particular task through repetition and self-correction.
It is reported that this algorithm was trained with almost 0.12 million high-quality human-graded fundus images, which helped it to correct and learn how to diagnose diabetic retinopathy.
What's fascinating is the doctor's words on this technology –
- In 87% of the given cases, this disorder was precisely detected by the AI,
and 90 % of the time, it correctly identified individuals without the disorder.
- It lessens the burden on the doctor as well as playing a key role in Hybrid, Decentralized clinical trials.
- We can’t conclude that ‘AI’ replaces the doctor’s intelligence. In fact, it’s going to filter out the patients with real disease who need real treatments.
Virtual reality / Augmented reality
Along with AI, VR/AR is also aiding in educating and training health care professionals and planning medical procedures. For visits, patients see and talk to their doctors as if they are standing nearby. Because, at the end of the day, humans are humans, and we need to interact with each other. The kind of engagement that happens when interaction happens face-to-face is entirely different to the remote version. In a clinical trial where everything is decentralized, VR/AR can aid with this “engagement” to an extent.
It’s no doubt that Telemedicine is here, adding value and being used but, still a few concerns exist.
The fundamental necessity of Telemedicine is the internet. In a recent survey done by Statista, more than 50 % of Indians don’t have access to internet4. And, even with internet access, bandwidth issues typically cause problems in video calls/consultations.
From a clinical trial point of view, patients need a proper private place to communicate with their doctors, lack of this will undoubtably affect the trial.
Even though Telemedicine allows doctors to examine their patients without the constraints of time and place, face-to-face interaction is always different. A physical touch, an eye-to-eye conversation aids in improving the mood of the patient and helps with diagnosis - which cannot be substituted by any technology.
However, it is highly likely that these hurdles with current Telemedicine will be overcome for the betterment of human health and the clinical trials industry.
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