Could Clinical Trials Be the Next Frontier for Telemedicine?

Posted by Daniel Ferguson on Mon, Oct 21, 2019 @ 12:53 PM

With health care expenditures in the United States totaling $3.5 trillion, or nearly $11,000 per person, telemedicine continues to be a source of hope for the industry. By enabling physicians to examine patients remotely, virtual medicine platforms are increasingly viewed by practitioners and insurers as a way to bend the cost curve, and according to Global Market Insights, the telemedicine market isn’t going anywhere. Rather, it’s expected to reach $130.5 billion by 2025.


Some are currently seeing the same potential when it comes to remote clinical trials. A 2018 study by Johns Hopkins University found the average cost of a new drug trial was $19 million but could be many times higher for certain medicines. Lessening the need for in-person follow-ups could help reduce those outlays.

Electronically assisted trials have another potential upside too. They make it more likely for patients to stay in the program, thus reducing the time needed to evaluate new drugs. Additionally, participants don’t have to travel as often, they can receive reminders about when to take medications, and they can get instant support if they suffer adverse effects.

VirTrial_logoOne of the companies betting on this new approach is Scottsdale, Arizona, United States–based VirTrial. In 2018, the firm introduced a platform that allows for audio and video calls between the research team—comprised of clinical research coordinators (CRCs), principal investigators (PIs), and physicians—and the trial participants. The program also supports e-mail and text messaging, enabling the CRCs to send reminders about drug usage, as well as supporting materials.

The idea came to VirTrial CEO Mark Hanley when he was serving on the board of a telehealth company and realized the same technology could be tweaked to support the clinical trial process. 

“The clinical research industry is in a state of growth and evolution,” says Hanley. “Most research professionals agree the recruitment and engagement process needs to change in order to increase the percentage of successful trial outcomes and to speed the introduction of new medications to market.”

The pioneering patient management program of VirTrial is already garnering a lot of attention, both inside and outside the pharmaceutical industry. It recently snagged three Gold Stevie® Awards in the Health & Pharmaceuticals category (Service, Cloud Application/Service, and Healthcare Technology Solution). In what turned out to be a busy night at the 17th Annual American Business Awards®, the company also took home the People’s Choice Stevie® Award for Health & Pharmaceuticals.

The End of Inpatient Visits?

For Hanley, virtual platforms allow research sites to offer better patient engagement and higher retention rates throughout the clinical trial.

“Continual in-person visits to a research site can be difficult for patients, and those patients often can’t continue through the course of an entire trial because of the commitment required,” he says. “By offering virtual trials and enabling patients to comply with the required schedule via video from their homes or workplaces, it makes it much easier for them to complete the trial, thus reducing delays in the study.”

Unlike some remote medicine platforms that have entered the market, however, VirTrial doesn’t see remote capabilities as completely replacing in-person visits. Hanley says his company’s goal is to handle about 25 percent to 40 percent of visits, with the rest being performed face to face at clinical research sites.

“Having firsthand experience with more than ten thousand trials, the management team at VirTrial strongly believes in the intrinsic value of direct human interaction and advocates that in-person visits are necessary in certain cases,” says Hanley.

The company asserts that, practically speaking, less than 1 percent of trials could be done exclusively through virtual follow-ups. Therefore, VirTrial is positioning itself as a more realistic solution when it comes to operating a large-scale clinical trial.

Whether the pharmaceutical industry embraces this hybrid model is only one of the company’s hurdles going forward, though. VirTrial is also trying to stay ahead of the curve from a technological standpoint so research organizations can see the value of its solution over that of competitors.

VirTrial is currently working to develop functionality into its platform that allows for integration with Fitbit bands, Apple Watches, and other smart devices that can track health-related information, such as sleep patterns and cardiac function. No matter how much data those wearables can capture, though, Hanley sees them as supporting, rather than replacing, in-person visits.

“The evolution of clinical trials must incorporate technology to reduce patient burden and to increase site efficiencies, and it must also continue to leverage the value of direct human-to-human connections,” he says.

VirTrial recently won three Gold Stevie Awards in the New Product & Service Categories—one for Health & Pharmaceuticals - Service; one for Cloud Application/Service - Business Technology; and one for Healthcare Technology Solution - Business Technology—in The 17th annual American Business Awards®. They also won a People's Choice Stevie Award for Favorite New Products for Healthcare or Pharmaceutical Product or Service.

Interested in winning a Stevie Award in 2020?

Request the entry kit here.

Topics: The American Business Awards, American business awards, People’s Choice Stevie® Awards, health awards

Telehealth: How Technology Is Revolutionizing the Health Industry

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 @ 01:38 PM

Few industries are as integral to well-being as health care—and by capitalizing on the globe’s exponential technological achievements, the medical field continues to advance telehealth. Much as the Internet changed how people communicate, telehealth is disrupting the status quo of health and wellness in order to improve how people live.

What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth essentially leverages technology in order to distribute health-related services and critical health-related information. Even when a clinician is in another city, state, or even country, telehealth allows that clinician to provide advice, reminders, health monitoring services, and more to his or her patients.

The field of telehealth is not necessarily new, but with burgeoning technological advances, the applications continue to expand and to change. Here are just a few ways telehealth is pushing the medical field in an innovative, positive direction:

  • Two or more doctors, regardless of location, can meet via video conference to discuss a case. (Lab results and tests can also be distributed to multiple facilities across the nation or world to ensure the proper specialists analyze the results.)
  • Through remote access, a surgeon can perform robotic surgery.
  • A patient can complete a physical therapy regimen from home through live feeds and digital monitoring equipment.
  • Transitioning health data management online can make the process more secure, accurate, up to date, and integrated with the health care system.


Benefits of Telehealth

Even as this industry evolves, the underlying benefits remain clear:

  • Increased access to health care for those living in remote or rural areas.
  • Increased access for those with limited or no means of transport to a medical facility.
  • Increased access to care for historically vulnerable populations, including the elderly and disabled.
  • Minimized health care costs.
  • Consolidation of a company or organization’s resources into a single platform (e.g., a mobile app).
  • Access to live health ambassadors any time, day or night.
  • Ability for working parents in the medical field to perform job tasks from home. (Many nurse call centers today are moving toward a remote nursing model.)
  • A modernized health care system that prioritizes convenience, communication, and wellness.

As people continue to live longer, demands on the health care system increase, but there’s often not a correlated increase in funds for those facilities. When critical resources—namely, money and staff members—are low, telehealth can fill in many of those gaps, ensuring more people get easy, affordable access to the care they need.

Recognition of Innovation

Every year, telehealth becomes an increasingly integrated part of the medical landscape. Companies at the forefront of that innovation are receiving both recognition and support for their important work.

Continuwell, a company based in Jacksonville, Florida, United States and part of the TriageLogic Group, provides telehealth software and mobile communication solutions to U.S.-based medical centers and businesses.

“Continuwell is an innovative platform with a mobile application designed to simplify the employee well-being experience,” said CEO Dr. Charu Raheja. “We keep members engaged and informed, and we empower them to access key company resources through our easy-to-use mobile app.”

For her efforts, Dr. Raheja won the 2018 Gold Stevie® Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the Business Services category of the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the TriageLogic Group and Continuwell took the 2018 Silver Stevie Award for the Most Innovative Company of the Year in the same category.

“This recognition is an honor to our team,” said Raheja. “By increasing our visibility, we sincerely hope we can help other companies engage with their colleagues and prioritize health and well-being.”

Topics: stevie awards for women in business, women in business awards, health awards

Incentivizing Health and Community Spirit - One Billion Dollars and Counting

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 @ 02:17 PM

Getting slimmer while your wallet grows thicker is what Isagenix believes makes them stand out from other marketing companies. Isagenix is a network marketing company that focuses on healthy lifestyles and wealth creation for “everyday people” who want nutritional support systems across the health and fitness spectrum, and in many cases, financial gains.

Isagenix celebration.jpgThey took their “success through events” initiative to their highest level at their flagship Celebration event, which won them the 2016 Best Brand Experience Event Gold Stevie Award.

In The 2016 American Business Awards, Isagenix was honored with three Gold, two Silver, and four Bronze Stevie Awards.

The 2017 American Busienss Awards are still accepting nominations through April 7.


Tools, training and resources are offered at their events throughout the year to help customers and associates, while giving the opportunity to network with like-minded people.

“When you join Isagenix, you get much more than our amazing products. You’ll experience our culture of fun, family, success, growth, passion, and integrity that will bring out the best in you and inspire you to help bring out the best in others.”

The Numbers of Self-Improvement

In 2016, Isagenix reached nearly one billion dollars in global sales through an independent network of associates around the world.

The Celebration event also passed an attendance record, attracting more than 12,000 members and customers to new training sessions, product launches and a plethora of recognition ceremonies. Celebration showcases customer satisfaction, which helps new members see success stories, and interactive spectacles commemorating customer milestones.

Core Values Matter

Co-owners Jim and Kathy Coover say, “Winning a Stevie boosted internal employee morale and even encouraged us to top our last event by pushing creative mindsets.”

As a health and wellness company, Isagenix enjoys seeing more and more people take an active role in living their set of values to motivate, inspire and drive their associates.

Isagenix believes commemorating success encourages customers to attend their events and witness others living the company’s culture of, “fun, family, success, growth, passion and integrity.” The challenging but fun side of lifestyle changes, especially health and financial improvement, is that Isagenix believes needs the most attention.

“We hold high expectations not only for our corporate team, but also for our associates who are at the forefront of our growth, achievements, and accomplishments. We call it What Drives Us.”

Topics: American business awards, event awards, health awards