The fastest growing segment of the eClinical solutions market is electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO), the technology landscape is driving the trend.

The eClinical solutions market is currently valued at $3 billion per year, and is expected to grow to almost $6 billion per year in the next four years. According to MedCity News, the fastest growing segment of that market is electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO), which currently takes in over $500 million per year. The FDA, payers, and the changing technology landscape, particularly the use of handhelds and wearables, are driving the trend.

Zikria Syed, technologist and life sciences entrepreneur, believes electronic clinical outcomes assessment (eCOA), also known as ePRO, is ripe for a technology upgrade. He identifies seven technology trends that will revolutionize these solutions, and clinical trials, in coming years.

  1. Consumerization of the user experience: users bring their own computing devices and apps to the trial. A large ePRO trial can involve tens of thousands of users and go on for years. Reduced training and on-boarding costs and improved engagement can have a significant positive impact on the trial.
  2. Pharma’s move to the cloud is underway, with companies like Veeva providing a multi-tenant cloud solution. ePRO solutions with a large patient user base are suited for a move to the cloud.
  3. Real-time insights and feedback improves usability and becomes more important when engaging a large base of users. Consumer health apps are providing continuous feedback to users and increasing patient engagement.
  4. The use of mobile and tablets in trials is just underway, but will continue to increase. A recent survey of 1,500 clinical trial site contacts by Worldwide Clinical Trials found investigators still prefer paper over electronic entry. As tablets and mobile devices replace the clipboard, solution providers will need to continue to improve the usability of these devices.
  5. Bring your own device (BYOD) is also a growing trend and can reduce the cost of eCOA solutions, where the supplying of devices accounts for about a third of the cost.
  6. Device integration will be a growing area of importance, as the wearables market grew to 78.1 million units in 2015. Smartphone users are also using those devices to track physical activity. Technology in healthcare will continue to be a frontier for invention, which will require sponsors to carefully evaluate new devices and appropriately incorporate them into trial designs.
  7. Big data is also having an impact on the industry. In eCOA solutions, wearables will create large sets of new data about patient health, mobility, activity, and the safety and efficacy of treatments. Big data can also be used for study design and patient/investigator selection to find the best match for trials.