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Revolutionising Clinical Trials with IVRS

It is ironic that one of the most exciting recent innovations within an industry that collectively spends billions of dollars a year on R&D should be based on a technology dating back to 1876. The 19th US President, Rutherford B Hayes, famously dismissed the telephone saying "That's an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?". Well, in the form of interactive voice response systems (IVRS), the telephone has found an invaluable role within pharmaceutical product development. This article explores a number of the characteristics of IVRS, some of which have particular resonance in the field of oncology research.

The arguments for the use of IVRS in clinical trials are well-versed - take, for example, the 15 to 30 per cent growth (market estimate) in the application of voice-based systems in clinical research. IVRS is unique in its elegant simplicity; linking people in a way with which they have learnt to be comfortable, using an already established international communications network. The telephone is ubiquitous, mobile and, apart from the language barrier, is 'open' in the way that computer architects can only dream of. There are, for example, no incompatibilities, no conflicts of operating systems, software versions or 'user interfaces'.

In the clinical trials environment, IVRS is used to input data into computer systems, employing the phone's touch-tone keypad and prerecorded prompts to manage the process. The simplicity of this concept belies the wealth of potential benefits. The net outcome is new and better ways to manage patient randomisation; drug assignment and inventory management; study blinding; patient diary capture; reporting; and systems integration.


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By Jennifer Aquino, Senior Director of Voice and Data Systems, and Jean-Remy Behaeghel, Senior Manager at Perceptive Informatics

Jennifer Aquino is Senior Director of Voice and Data Systems with operational responsibility for the IVRS and EDC technologies at Perceptive Informatics. Jennifer has over 12 years' experience in the drug development industry with extensive experience in clinical trial management. Prior to joining Perceptive Informatics, Inc, Jennifer was Director, Advanced Technology Group, System Implementation and Support for PAREXEL International Corporation, where she was responsible for the implementation of multiple technology-based systems including IVRS and EDC. Prior to joining PAREXEL, Jennifer was Manager, Clinical Data Systems and Management at Hybridon, Inc.

As Senior Manager, Jean-Remy Behaeghel oversees the application engineering and development team for IVRS and EDC technologies at Perceptive Informatics. Jean-Remy has worked in clinical systems design and development for over seven years and has been involved in the design of clinical systems in all phases of clinical trials. He attended the University of Technology of Compiegne, France and the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, earning a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering.
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