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AI Told You So

PMPS: What are the negative outcomes of patient non-adherence, and what approaches do companies undertake to avoid any possible issues?

Stefan Harrer: Recruiting the right patients into a clinical trial is a massive investment both in terms of time and funding. The return on this investment can only be realised through successful completion of the trial. Hence, it is imperative that patients stay in the trial, and adhere to trial procedures and rules throughout the trial so that all data-points for monitoring the impact of the tested drug are collected efficiently and reliably. Only 15% of clinical trials do not experience patient dropout, and the average dropout rate across clinical trials is 30%. Dropouts caused by a lack of adherence to trial protocols require additional recruiting efforts, which lead to trial delays and substantial additional costs. A linear increase of the non-adherence rate in a trial leads to an exponential increase in additional patients required to maintain the statistical power of the outcomes. For example, a study in which half of the patients are non-adherent means an additional 200% of patients need to be recruited to keep the statistical power of the results stable. Improved patient monitoring and coaching methods during ongoing trials can be used to lower the adherence burden, make endpoint detection more efficient, and thus reduce dropout and non-adherence rates (see Figure 2, page 41).

How is AI currently being utilised to make sure that patients follow their recommended treatment as prescribed?

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Stefan Harrer is a Senior Technical Staff Member in IBMís Epilepsy Research programme. Since joining IBM Research in 2008, Stefan has worked in the fields of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and AI for healthcare and life science applications. Stefan has been named an IBM Master Inventor and was elected into the IBM Academy of Technology. His work has been featured in WIRED magazine, The World Economic Forum, Popular Science, and on ABC News. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Technical University Munich, Germany, and an Honours Masterís Degree in Technology Management from the Center for Digital Technology and Management, Germany.
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