Cloud computing, digital signatures speed clinical trials

A new whitepaper has demonstrated that the use of interoperable digital identities, digital signatures and cloud computing helps accelerate the initiation of a clinical trial while lowering costs.

A new whitepaper has demonstrated that the use of interoperable digital identities, digital signatures and cloud computing helps accelerate the initiation of a clinical trial while lowering costs.

The study, titled Research Collaboration in the Cloud: How NCI and Research Partners are using Interoperable Digital Identities, Digital Signatures and Cloud Computing to Accelerate Drug Development, shows the results of a 2010 pilot program in which researchers at the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (NCI/CTEP), the world’s largest sponsor of cancer clinical treatment trials, and Bristol-Myers Squibb used cloud-based IT to eliminate reliance on paper forms in clinical trials.

[See also: 5 areas that will see cloud computing ROI.]

Researchers were each given interoperable digital identity credentials – software installed on a computer, smartphone or other device, that establishes a close link with the user’s proven identity and allows for the application of legally binding, digital signatures to electronic documents.

Digital signatures guarantee the integrity of documents – such as protocol receipt acknowledgement letters, protocol approval/disapproval forms, clinical trial agreements and contracts – by protecting every bit of information from being changed.

In the pilot, the electronic documents were stored in a secure cloud-based environment where the researchers were able to access and sign them immediately. Prior to the study, the process was delayed by the necessity of sending physical documents through courier service or fax for signature.

Substantial cost savings are anticipated as the pilot moves to production, according to the whitepaper.

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