With the technology advances we have seen in the last 10 years, it’s hard to believe that, only 50% of clinical trials are using Electronic Data Capture (EDC), whilst the other 50% are still being run on paper and in Excel spreadsheets.

Why is this adoption rate so low? The answer lies in the cost and complexity perspectives of switching to EDC. Barriers that existed in the past could generally be navigated by large pharma companies that had the money and manpower to overcome them. For startup companies, it was a different story.

The situation has now changed, and the reality is that it is almost always cheaper to capture data electronically.

Lower costs, greater ease of use

Costs are the first factor that will help the industry get to the 99% acceptance rate. In the past, if you purchased a cheap system, you generally found yourself lacking in features. The advent of online solutions and cloud capabilities has changed all that.

EDC softwares with the same capabilities as the most expensive systems have seen their price decrease dramatically. In some cases, the software is even free, ClinCapture is one of the many examples out there.

All of this is causing a dramatic drop in the initial entry costs for starting a trial.

A study led by Forrester Research, based on cost comparison, demonstrated the benefits of adapting to EDC. The research firm analyzed the cost-savings ratio of Novartis. For a 12-month Phase II clinical trial, the costs of the clinical trial were reduced from $732,000 to $384,000 thanks to remote monitoring, fewer site visits, shorter patient recruitment periods, reduction (or complete elimination) of printing costs, faster data entry, and lower data cleaning costs.

Time-saving and cleaner data

Time-reduction is also a very sensitive element when it comes to Electronic Data Capture. Overall, EDC has been calculated to reduce the duration of clinical development by up to 30%.

It is critical to note that most significant time-savings occur during database lock. It has been shown that, when it is time for database lock, there is less missing data and fewer errors and queries with EDC. A case study led by Applied Clinical Trials, has shown that database lock can take as long as up to nine days with the paper method… With an EDC-system, however, you would only need a day.

Changing mindsets

Some people will always boycott new technologies simply based on risk/reward and the return on investment. But those arguments are getting easier to overcome as the costs of an EDC implementation is heading towards zero.

You can now start a trial, build it, add complex rules if necessary, and do all of that for free or at a very low cost. The labor it will take to do so, is also significantly lower than other solutions as you can do it yourself. There really are no longer any reasons for not going to the electronic method.

Personally, I would go for ClinCapture, the only free validated EDC system on the market. They also have a cool video (see below) explaining how their software works. So, why not try it for your next study?

[Editor note] This article has been sponsored by ClinCapture.

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