Using real-world evidence in clinical trials: Challenges and opportunities

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

The healthcare industry traditionally has used site-based clinical trials to assess the efficacy and safety of drugs and medical devices. Data collected from participants in these trials would be evaluated to determine whether the product in question should be approved for commercial use.

In recent years, however, the exponential increase in patient data recorded by digital devices has raised the possibility that real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE) may be used to augment clinical trial data.  

But what are RWD and RWE? Are they the same thing? And how could they effectively be integrated into clinical trials to produce better outcomes for consumers?

Here’s how the FDA defines RWD and RWE:

Real-world data relate to patient health status and/or the delivery of healthcare routinely collected from a variety of sources. RWD can come from mul…

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