The more that can be done to encourage patients to participate in clinical trials, the faster new medicines and devices become available.

The use of digital technology is creating more convenient, engaging and innovative treatments, in place of the typically invasive and regimented processes usually associated with clinical trials. Digital technology enables the constant monitoring of, and communication with, patients in real time, creating the opportunity to assess the results of drugs and devices at a ground-breaking level of granularity, and over a range of real-world conditions. 

People volunteer to participate in a clinical trial for a variety of reasons - wanting to advance medical science, having a chronic condition or getting access to a particular medicine. When planning and conducting a clinical trial, a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective and even personalised medicine is insufficient. A successful approach should embrace individuality and appreciate the unique attributes of every participant.

Incorporating the patient perspective at the design stage of a clinical trial empowers them and provides ways to ease the patient burden. Leveraging technologies such as wearables and implanted microchips which allow for the capture of data and information about patients and their condition, as they go about their daily lives, is a prime example.

The potential of digital information from participants is vast. Sharing appropriate data, gathered from the patient, directly allows that person to comprehend how they are progressing with the management of their condition and how they may compare with others who are managing the same or similar conditions.

ICON’s team of experts can help you to understand and successfully address the complexities of the implementation of wearable devices and other digital technology in trial design, execution and reporting. For more information, please contact us.


This blog is an edited version of “Resistance is futile: New frontiers for the next generation of clinical trials” which appeared in the March 2019 edition of PharmaTimes Magazine. To view the full article, please visit