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New Research Reveals Status of AI/ML Adoption Amid Surging Interest for Clinical Trial Leaders in 2024

Annual life science industry report by eClinical Solutions uncovers trends and practical realities for external data, AI, and cycle times

eClinical Solutions, a global provider of digital clinical software and services, today announced the results from its 2024 Industry Outlook, an annual report synthesizing research with 77 professionals working across clinical operations, data management, statistical programming, and biometrics functions to reveal insights on the most pressing trends, challenges, and opportunities shaping the clinical data landscape.

The 2024 Industry Outlook suggests strong enthusiasm for artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), overtaking automation this year as the top trend in the industry, due largely to the continued complexity of trials as well as buzz around the potential of emerging technologies. Key findings include: 

  • 53% of respondents believe AI/ML will have the greatest impact on efficiency and outcomes in 2024, up from 11% in the 2023 Industry Outlook. 
  • Interest in external data sources is varied, but use of decentralized clinical trial (DCT) technologies and wearables in particular, lag far behind more specific sources of data (labs, biomarkers, etc.)
  • Cycle times remain a significant challenge for respondents

“Advanced technologies such as AI and ML represent clear opportunities for life science leaders looking to increase productivity across the clinical trial life cycle and drive tomorrow’s breakthroughs,” said Katrina Rice, chief delivery officer, biometrics services at eClinical Solutions. “As the industry evolves from a traditional clinical data management model toward a more holistic clinical data science model, incorporating advanced analytics tools is more important than ever. Blending traditional and tech-driven approaches emerged as a clear priority for respondents, however with the majority still in the early stages of AI and ML integration, a concerted effort will be needed to bridge the gap from exploration to value. Our research suggests 2024 will bring continued interest and implementation of emerging technologies.” 

Emphasizing the pivotal role of these technologies, Diane Lacroix, vice president, clinical data management at eClinical Solutions, added, “The theme of 2024 is ‘practical’: embracing incremental innovation to expedite timelines and boost efficiency. The recent expansion of eIQ Review enables data management teams to leverage these advanced AI/ML capabilities to conduct data review in a more efficient, scalable way.”

Surprisingly, the survey results hint at a possible stagnation in the use of some external data sources – potentially due to slower than expected adoption of DCT approaches and other barriers explored more fully in the Industry Outlook report. Nevertheless, volume and variety of data clearly remain key issues, as reported in the survey and in discussions during eClinical Solutions’ ENGAGE 2023. “A key task for the future is incorporating and integrating all these data sources to get a more holistic picture of the patient,” said Sandy Ng, vice president, data science at eClinical Solutions. “Many sponsors are seeking practical guidance on data acquisition approaches for specific study needs, as well as future-proof technologies to handle expanding data volume.”

Survey results highlight that trial cycle times remain a significant and ongoing challenge, intrinsically connected to the increased complexity of the overall clinical trial landscape. “Sponsors and service providers alike are grappling with the question – how do we compress the time it takes us to reach key milestones while maintaining quality?,” said Rice. “Technology offers promising avenues across clinical development, but it is equally critical to embed a dedicated infrastructure across people and workflows. Working together across these areas we can implement more efficient processes for reduced cycle times and build a future-ready foundation to drive tomorrow’s breakthroughs.”

Join an expert-led discussion of the top data challenges and opportunities found in the 2024 Industry Outlook survey at the Thursday, January 18 webinar, “Advancing Clinical Data Transformation,” here:  Advancing clinical data transformation industry outlook 2024

To receive a copy of eClinical Solutions’ 2024 Industry Outlook report, click here: Clinical data industry outlook 2024 

About eClinical Solutions

eClinical Solutions’ industry-leading data & analytics platform and biometrics services experts help biopharma researchers at large, mid-size, and emerging life sciences organizations manage trial complexity in less time and with fewer resources. Clients get accurate and timely data insights for better decision-making – enabling them to reduce cycle times, improve productivity, easily scale, and develop tomorrow’s breakthroughs with today’s resources. eClinical is a privately-held, purpose-driven company with a global workforce and winner of the 2023 Top Workplaces USA and Culture Excellence Awards. Learn more at ecstest.wpenginepowerd.com and follow us eClinical Solutions.

ENGAGE 2024- October 10-11, Boston.