Clinical trial app makes selection simple and fast

If you see your doctor on the phone in the labour ward, don’t panic, because a new emergency clinical trial app is helping them to save time and save lives.

Dr Doug Blank and his team turned to a emergency mobile 'clincial trial app' solution to save lives.
Dr Doug Blank

Many of the split-second decisions made by medical professionals are the result of years of clinical trials, where patients are allocated into one group or another, but when time is critical, how can a doctor decide which option is appropriate?

Mobile phone technology

Honorary Clinical Associate at The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute and Consultant Neonatologist Monash Newborn Dr Doug Blank and his team turned to mobile phone technology for a solution, and it’s paying dividends for doctors and patients.

“Randomised trials in emergency settings must quickly confirm eligibility and allocate participants to an intervention group without delaying treatment,” Dr Blank said.

“In a clinical trial, patients are given treatment ‘A’ or treatment ‘B’ methods to randomly assign patients to A or B include opening concealed envelopes or calling into a central computer.”

“In an emergency situation every moment spent on that task potentially means less attention on the patient, or a vulnerable newborn baby, so speed is an important factor.”

Clinical trial app benefits neonatal resuscitation

The solution was a smartphone application called RedCap, which helps doctors to overcome the hurdle of randomising and allocating treatment and has found to be of particular benefit during neonatal resuscitation.

“We used video recording to mark the length of time it took to randomise patients and allocate treatments,” Dr Blank said.

And it has potential for use beyond the maternity space.

“In an emergency you need to be light and agile, but research requires being methodical and recording events as objectively as possible. This study shows how we can better balance those competing priorities to safely and efficiently conduct trials in emergency conditions.”

“This is the first report of using this randomisation platform for a trial under emergency conditions, and the potential for future uses is exciting.”

Collaborators | Royal Women’s Hospital, MCRI

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