eSource is not a new concept. It's been around for at least 10 years as a viable commercial option.
Although eSource has not completely saturated the market, many people predict it will be the next wave of technology in clinical trials. In our market survey, over half of CRAs reported they believe eSource will become the primary mode of data collection over the next 5 years.
The question is, why now?
As a former site owner, and through my research in building CRIO, I think there are a few factors:
Everyday use of mobile devices
We use smartphones and tablets for all kinds of activities, including software - something we didn't do 8 years ago. For example, today, mobile & tablets make up 56% of the global device market, whereas they made up just 4% at eSource's inception. Research site professionals do not blink an eye at the concept of using a tablet for source data capture.
The widespread use of EHR
The Affordable Care Act heavily incentivized the use of EHR. In 2016, 70% of physician practices had converted to EHR. Although many have hoped that EHR would effectively serve as eSource, it hasn't worked out that way, as the workflows for care are so different from research. What EHR has done, however, is acclimate physician practices to real-time data capture, thus paving the way culturally for an EHR-equivalent on the research side.
The spread of sponsor-driven technology
Sponsors have been spending increasing amounts each year on technology solutions. Some, like IWRS, eTMF and EDC, have achieved near-universal adoption. Others, like CTMS, training or start-up, are taking off. But many of these technologies rely on data captured at the site level. eSource is the "first mile" that unlocks numerous efficiencies. Without eSource, sponsors face increasingly limited ROI on their technology investment.
At Clinical Research IO, we've seen a major shift just in the two years we've been doing business. When we launched our eSource product back in 2016, it was considered a novelty. Today, many sites we speak to have eSource in their roadmap and are selecting vendors. They're already sold on the concept.
If you haven't decided if eSource is in your roadmap, you're well advised to start your research now.
Still curious about eSource? Check out CRIO's leading eSource product.
Raymond Nomizu is a former clinical trial site owner; during the operation of his site, he realized that there should be a better software solution for clinical trials. This prompted him to co-found Clinical Research IO, whose eSource and CTMS solutions are now considered some of the best in the industry. Read more about him here.