Choosing Decentralized Clinical Trials

The Rise of DCTs

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the viability of traditional clinical trials around the world. The use of decentralized clinical trial (DCT) options was on the rise before the pandemic, but the industry’s growing need to keep research moving forward and ensure the safety of clinicians and patients made the need for remote capabilities more important than ever. With new efficiencies produced by telemedicine, remote monitoring, direct-to-patient shipments, devices and more, these new options will remain an important attribute of clinical trials as we enter the digital age of research.

0 %

of clinical trials expected to be decentralized in 2021 (vs. 41% in 2019).

Why Choose DCTs

As the clinical landscape continues to evolve, DCTs present opportunities to emphasize convenience, safety and flexibility, while continuing to pursue quality data and valuable research. Advantages include:


reduction in recruitment timelines1, 2


increased trial retention
rates3, 4


increased patient interest4


patients recruited from communities of color1, 4


of study team members believe data quality can be higher5


While DCTs can still enable trials that would otherwise be challenging during the pandemic, many of the potential efficiencies — particularly rapid implementation — can remain out of reach. PPD has DCT strategies built into the protocol from the start, with custom features and functions instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

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Building Decentralized Clinical Trials for Patients and Clinicians

The increased implementation of decentralized clinical trials means the industry now has a considerable body of evidence and experience to test the strengths of digital clinical trial models. With the growing amount of data comes the ability to assess how to make trials more effective and efficient, including a closer look at qualitative sponsor, site and patient feedback. To gain further insight into this transformation, PPD explored the experiences that key stakeholders have had when approaching decentralized clinical trials.

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Information Services Group (ISG) recognized PPD in its 2020 ISG Provider Lens™ Life Sciences Digital Services Global Report. The honorees were determined following a nine-month research study, in which providers were independently evaluated. The findings recognize PPD as an ISG Provider Lens Leader for digital transformation services, specifically its clinical development and patient engagement solutions.

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2020 Decentralized Clinical Trials Survey Report

In 2020, PPD commissioned a survey among global biopharmaceutical and biotech organizations to investigate movement and trends in the clinical trials market, including threats to trial continuity, patient participation and new modes of research during the global progression of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 decentralized clinical trials survey report
2020 clinical trial insights report

2020 Clinical Trial Insights Report

To guide organizations through a transformative time in clinical research, PPD held a number of webinars exploring the accelerated pace of adoption for novel approaches and innovations impacting clinical research, with our experts offering strategies and considerations to support the rapid changes happening within clinical trial design and operations.

Protecting Clinical Research & Patients Through Decentralization

Today’s biopharma and biotech organizations are increasingly opting for digitally enabled trial designs over traditional solutions. PPD® Digital works closely with life science leaders from around the world to navigate evolving trends in drug development, including the design and execution of bespoke decentralized clinical trials.

protecting clinical research & patients through decentralization article

Digital Innovation & Implementation

How can PPD’s suite of digital capabilities and solutions help you reach more patients?