The ProofPilot Blog - Design, Launch & Participant in Research Studies

ProofPilot Eliminates the Fear of a Failed Trial in Digital Health

With new tools like ProofPilot, trials are no longer a “you’ve got one shot” deal. Replicate, test with new populations, and continually improve solutions that improve outcomes.

When we talk “trials”, we think pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The FDA requires these studies to ensure drugs and devices are safe and effective.

But trials are useful for any health innovation. The “innovation” could be anything from a digital health app, social service program to a folk treatment. The results of these trials:

  • help innovators argue their solutions are more than “snake oil.”
  • aid providers in their case to scale worthy initiatives beyond pilots.
  • establishes credibility with customers and users
  • show insurers the innovation is worthy of reimbursement
  • help government supported programs rise above political whims.

Many health innovations pose little safety risk. So why don’t we see more trials in sectors where the FDA doesn’t require them?

It’s the fear of a failed trial.

Traditional trials are expensive. Few can support running even one trial. Even fewer can repeat a trial when the first one produced disappointing results.

So, health innovators wait until “perfection.” Only then do they launch that one make or break study. In the meantime … awareness, credibility, and opportunities to improve suffer.

But, with tools like ProofPilot, you don’t have wait anymore. You don’t have to fear the failed trial. It brings the cost down so you can run a series of studies. ProofPilot makes it possible to trial early, learn, improve and repeat.

Even with ProofPilot, sometimes study results will not be what you’d hoped. Expect it. When it happens, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

Just because your trial had bad results doesn’t mean that it’s the last word. That goes for positive results too. Replication is a key part of the scientific process. Each time you repeat the same answer, the scientific evidence is stronger. But, few studies get replicated. It’s to expensive.

ProofPilot changes that. It allows you to quickly and easily replicate a study — whether it was successful or not. It’s not only a compensation for failure. It’s good science.

Just because your trial didn’t work in one population doesn’t mean it won’t work in another. An individual’s genetics, environments, culture and behaviors have strong impacts on outcomes. But, traditional clinical trials are only recently taking these components into consideration. Rural seniors might not respond to a certain digital intervention. That doesn’t mean urban African Americans won’t.

ProofPilot encourages innovators to replicate studies across environments, cultures, and situations. Every pilot implementation is a business opportunity. Locally relevant results overcome even the harshest digital cynics.

It’s just part of the product development process. A failed trial is continuous process improvement. They can produce more than a “this doesn’t work” answer. We learn what doesn’t work. We gain insight into why something doesn’t work. You can use that information to make adjustments and trial again.

Failure is just emotional. Reducing costs and burden lets you redefine what trial success and failure is. When results show little (or negative impact), its not failure. It’s more data on which to make inferences and decisions.

Going without trial results stagnates healthcare innovation. It stagnates the quality and impact of your innovation. ProofPilot’s lower costs and approach fostering study replication changes what trial failure means.

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