Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Usually, sick people. As such, the logistics involved can be notoriously inefficient and unnecessarily complicated. Medical imaging that is not well managed can contribute to this inefficiency.
Clinical trials for patients with breast cancer are no different: mammograms are essential evidence when determining if and how a clinical trial has impacted the participants’ condition. However, when the team of clinical researchers, or investigators, happens to be spread out across the country, mailing mammogram film or even CDs aren’t exactly ideal.
Electronic access to these images is key to avoiding unnecessary delays.
There are certain inefficiencies in traditional clinical trials that can be overcome using cloud-based imaging solutions. Since clinical trials often occur at multiple locations simultaneously, with investigators at other locations, it’s important to enable the electronic sharing of mammograms to compare results.
Mammograms, like most medical images, are typically stored in a PACS (Picture Archive and Communication System) at the location where the mammogram was generated. With an onsite PACS, data is often inaccessible to outsiders, making collaboration problematic.
To overcome this obstacle, institutions conducting clinical trials can utilize a cloud-based PACS that gathers medical image studies from each location, consolidates them in a single location, and makes them available to the trial researchers. A cloud-based PACS enables researchers to access the medical images at any time no matter where they are located.
Another tool that can improve clinical trial efficiency is the web-based medical image viewer. This viewer provides full-functionality and ensures consistency in measurements and viewing for each researcher. As a web-based viewer, this zero-footprint software doesn’t run into any issues with the protective firewalls most institutions employ, key for those institutions involved in a trial. Some cloud-based PACS like the Purview platform include this web-viewing function, making it a simple and easy all-in-one solution.
Clinical trials rely on the collaboration of researchers to share their findings, opinions and data. The sooner this information can be shared among the clinical research team, the more quickly they can progress. Having an online platform that enables the researchers to share their reports, data and clinical notes with the rest of the team is important for clear communication. An email notification can alert the researchers any time a new piece of information is added– whether it’s a new mammogram, clinical note or pathology report.
In summary, clinical trials are tremendously important for developing new and improved breast cancer treatments and getting us closer to finding a cure for cancer in general. The sooner we can get there, the better.
To make clinical trials more efficient, institutions can utilize tools including:
- Cloud-based PACS
- Web-based Medical Image Viewer
- Platform for Critical Diagnostic Data Collection and Collaboration
- All of the Above: The Purview Platform