CBI Scene Blog

Patient-Centric Trial May Determine if the Cloud Can Help Diabetics

Posted by Scott Wallask on Oct 17, 2013 3:40:00 PM

Tom Hanks Diabetes resized 600

Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks' recent revelation that he has Type II diabetes is likely to not only raise broad awareness of the disease, but to also put the spotlight on innovative clinical trial approaches to managing the illness.

Given Hanks’ announcement, the timing of a new clinical study is apropos. Through new clinical trials, investigators hope to determine whether the use of cloud and mobile technologies can help diabetic patients like Hanks better monitor their health and manage their disease state. 

Combating Illness in the Virtual World

Healthcare is one industry ahead of the curve when it comes to cloud technology, whether through virtual doctor visits or reviewing electronic health records. And clinical trials teams are growing increasingly curious in finding innovative ways to leverage the cloud.

Take Medidata Solution’s trial, for example. The company has partnered with Spaulding Clinical Research to begin tracking whether cloud and mobile technology can help diabetic patients take better care of themselves. With 20 million people suffering from diabetes in the United States, the positive effect of this research could be significant.

“Using personal devices and patient engagement apps to improve quality of life would be very powerful and a huge win for our clinical care models,” Zachary T. Bloomgarden, MD, a clinical professor of diabetes at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and the study’s principal investigator, said in a press release about the new trial.

Here’s a snapshot of the trial

Participating diabetic patients use mobile devices to track their physical activity and diet. Then they upload this data to the cloud and receive personalized feedback from clinicians about what healthy adjustments to make. Such real-time collaboration could prolong the lives of not just diabetic patients, but may help others who live with a chronic illness. The results of Medidata’s research on Type I and Type II diabetes are still unknown.

A Modern Approach to Clinical Research

Aside from the clinical trial, Medidata is also involved in other contemporary efforts in clinical studies. The company is a sponsor of our upcoming conference, Clinical Patient Technology and Engagement, which takes place October 24-25 in Philadelphia. At the conference, Anne Zielinski—global lead of the patient cloud at Medidata—presents a session about how mobile apps can boost clinical research.

For trial sponsors, the idea of more patients using mobile devices provides a cloudburst of benefits:

  • Improved patient compliance with clinical trial rules and proper drug use

  • Better communication among patients and clinical sites

  • Real-time medical information for trial participants

  • More big data about trials

Will routine doctor visits and trips to your local walk-in clinic eventually be replaced by virtual check-ups that reference your personal health data in the cloud? Medidata’s study with diabetic patients may go a long way toward digging up those answers.

For Hanks and other diabetes sufferers, this isn’t just mumbo-jumbo talk about the cloud. Instead, the cloud may be revealing a truer purpose: Helping people live healthier lives.

clinical patient engagement conference

 (Image via Flickr Courtesy of Mark Hunsaker)


Scott Wallask is a senior program manager at CBI. Email him at scott.wallask@cbinet.com and follow him on Twitter @Scott_CBI.

Topics: Clinical