How The Rise of Virtual Studies is Impacting Research

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected virtually everyone and every industry in the world. That’s especially true of the medical field. Clinical research is often done in person, but with the 2020 pandemic, virtual scientific studies saw a 145% increase. That means that nearly 2.5 times as many virtual studies were done in 2020 as in 2019.

About 9% of 2019’s scientific studies were conducted online. In 2020, that number rose to nearly 22.5%. Though the majority of scientific studies have still been conducted with at least some in-person interaction, the importance of this cannot be understated.

Clinical research centers like Altus Research work on clinical trials in a variety of different phases. They have found that virtual data provides certain advantages:

  • It is easier to recruit participants.
  • Collecting detailed data is much easier.
  • Finding participants who fit certain types of life experience is much easier.

At the same time, virtual studies do make it difficult to retain participants throughout the entire time period.

How the Increase in Studies has Changed Science

Because so many studies were conducted virtually in 2020, scientific centers had to readjust their parameters for research. Some studies were redesigned entirely. The most successful clinical trials are those that lean into the advantages of being virtual.

First off, it’s much easier to find study participants if your study doesn’t require in-person appointments. There are two reasons for this. One is that you can look for participants in a much broader area since you don’t need to factor in their commute to the research center. Another is that participants don’t need to commit as much time to the study, since they don’t need to travel. This makes it ideal for people with full schedules who can’t take time off work or school.

It is, however, more difficult to keep your participants engaged. If participants lose interest in the study, they don’t have the same investment that comes with in-person visits.

Recruiting participants is a significant advantage with virtual studies. Moving research online allows researchers to look for a more refined set of participants with choices such as:

  • Specific racial and ethnic backgrounds
  • Lower socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Rural locations

All three of these groups may struggle to participate in in-person studies due to limited time, long commute, or communication barriers.

What to Prioritize When Recruiting for Virtual Studies

It’s helpful to invest in advertising that specifically caters to your target demographic. This will allow you to find people meeting your study criteria across regional borders.

Since you have a larger pool to pull from, you can also create studies with more participants. This will lead to better data and more reliable conclusions.

Every study should be conceptualized with a data model so that you can determine how many participants you should realistically look for. Some factors impacting this number include:

  • Criteria for eligibility
  • Time period for the study
  • Resources for the study
  • Overall design of the research

Join a Virtual Research Trial Today

Due to the sudden and tremendous shift toward virtual clinical trials, there’s never been a better time to explore your options of contributing to the advancement of medical knowledge with a clinical trial. Browse our currently available trials or volunteer to be notified of future studies you may be eligible for. And as always, feel free to contact our team if you have any questions.

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