BOSTON – Dr. Daniel Karlin believes that digital health technologies can drive progress in clinical trials and help the health care industry develop treatments for patients faster and more efficiently.
“We are carrying around a ton of sensors that act as information collectors every day,” said Karlin, head of clinical informatics and regulatory strategy, digital medicine, and the Pfizer Innovation Research Lab, to attendees of this week’s Biomarkers & Immuno-Oncology World Congress. “The hope is that we’re able to progress clinical trials in a myriad of ways.”
Karlin said in the past, and still today, some clinical trials involved a face-to-face visit between participating patients and a physician to get information about how a new treatment or medication is working. The question-and-answer session gives researchers endpoints in the trial and reveal a trend.
“In our modern era, we have Internet of Things-everything that pick up signals and send data back and forth,” said Karlin. “Now we can record data every day, or multiple times a day, and get more points on the graph to show the complex reality.”
More frequent endpoints often reveal a different health trend than what traditional trial methods may have shown before.
“Often the realities we discover don’t line up with our current models,” Karlin said. “Today we can measure people better, more frequently, more objectively and in more ways to give us more data-rich trials.”
Karlin said the work doesn’t stop with digital endpoints, however, and researchers still have to interpret what all the data means.
“You have to think about what the sensors do, what that means, and how you can gain clinical understanding from them,” he said. “We have to try to use clinical knowledge to come up with better diagnoses and treatments, and always ask how our work will affect a patient’s ability to do what they need to do.”