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Clinical research: A digital age video revolution

By Pimloc CEO and video data privacy and security expert, Simon Randall



The introduction of cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence (AI), precision medicine, and telemedicine has helped the healthcare industry accomplish some amazing new achievements in recent years.

These innovations have advanced the field, revolutionising patient care, diagnosis, and treatment planning, which has ultimately improved patient outcomes and increased efficiency.

However, crucially, the clinical research industry has lagged behind in adopting these developments.

Clinical research organisations (CROs) are essential to the healthcare sector as the main drivers for the testing of new medications and treatments.

These organisations are tasked with running clinical trials which require objective, high-quality data that can be examined and re-analysed later on in the trial procedure.

Clinical trials can last between two to eight years and beyond, and cost, on average, between £40 million and £80 million, so the stakes are considerable.

With any additional sales delays  costing up to £6.5 million in daily losses every efficiency counts in this high-pressure environment.

The powerful role of video in healthcare

In the modern world, most sectors employ video and video technologies to enhance operations through data capturing.

This visual data is essential for maximising productivity and safeguarding worker safety.

It is particularly relevant in the healthcare context where it can also ensure patient safety, and help provide and monitor efficient remote care.

It offers even more potential advantages in clinical studies.

Rather than relying exclusively on notes or the subjective judgement of one or two professionals present in the patient’s room, it captures an objective reality, and provides a valuable comparison for post-review and analysis.

                    Simon Randall

This visual record provides greater data quality and findings for later evaluation, saving time, resources, and money.

An example of when video is particularly useful would be in studies on illnesses of the central nervous system (CNS), where patients may need to communicate, engage, or move in some manner to gauge the efficacy of treatment.

In fact, for some trials like these, video is not only important but necessary.

Balancing compliance and data sharing

Despite its importance, these organisations face a significant barrier when it comes to utilising visual data from clinical trials to promote research and aid in the development of novel treatments.

For the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as well as the larger medical community, access to patient data is essential.

However, it is crucial that patient data be collected securely and disseminated in a way that safeguards private information.

In the UK, the legal frameworks covering how patient data, including video data must be looked after and processed are the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, which brought the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into law, and the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality (CLDC).

This means that all clinical research organisations must ensure that consent is:

  • Freely given without any unfair pressure

  • Specific – for a limited and clearly defined purpose

  • Informed

  • Unambiguous

  • Withdrawable – as easy to withdraw as it was to give it

  • Data in this context can be disclosed – provided it is de-identified. For video, this means anonymisation of personal and identifiable data

Automated visual data anonymisation

The ongoing development of artificial intelligence provides CROs with compliance-preserving tools that also safeguard patients’ privacy.

Clinical researchers may secure Personal Health Information (PHI) using video redaction technology, such as Secure Redact, which uses computer vision and machine learning to remove any identifying information from the material, making it anonymous.

It is crucial that all clinical research data is anonymised before being supplied to regulatory agencies such as the The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

According to GDPR rules, the data can now be used and shared responsibly because it is no longer classified as PHI.

CROs need to adapt in order to remain competitive and guarantee the best results for their trials, as the healthcare sector continues to break through new boundaries and adopt cutting-edge technology like AI.

Research organisations can enhance operational efficiency, save trial costs, and preserve confidentiality regulations by utilising video data collection, anonymisation, and secure sharing practices.

This will eventually result in more successful and timely trials for the benefit of patients and the industry.

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