Drug development typically relies upon clinical endpoints established within very controlled laboratory environments. Digital health technologies now provide the opportunity to transition data collection from the clinic into people’s personal lives, thereby providing more accurate conclusions about how a compound can influence their day-to-day life.
High-frequency digital health assessments can not only characterize clinically-relevant data as it occurs in real-time, but capture this information within the patient’s home environment. Therefore, digital health platforms provide an ecologically valid data source which directly maps on to an individual’s daily functioning and real-world outcomes.
Comprehensive neuropsychological testing typically takes hours to complete, which can be mentally and physically burdensome for patients. Furthermore, the travel required and overall time-commitment to undergo these procedures within a clinic can result in decreased study compliance. Together these factors can confound conclusions concerning treatment efficacy. Here we will discuss how digital health can reduce these burdens when implementing therapeutic interventions to improve patient outcomes.
In the first of our digital health series we will outline what the term means, and the opportunities offered, within the context of clinical trials in psychiatry.
The contemporary framework for designing clinical trials is to build a comprehensive cognitive profile of the patient population from thorough but infrequent assessments. However, this framework struggles to capture the daily fluctuations in mood and cognition that many individuals with psychiatric disorders experience. Here we will discuss how the advent of digital health offers the opportunity to capture a more holistic representation of patients’ cognitive function from high-frequency assessments.