Clinical trials can benefit from cloud tech’s data security, ease of access

Cloud technology opens up the potential for exciting innovations when it comes to the design and execution of clinical trials, but data security and privacy concerns are holding innovation at a snail’s pace.

Despite these misgivings, cloud-based solutions could in fact offer greater security, as well as the ability to access large pools of data that would improve an organization’s ability to find the right volunteers.

cloud tech's data security

“When we originally started looking at the cloud, most regulators had the ‘cloud is bad’ mentality — you shouldn’t put medical data in the cloud, period,” Jonathan Armstrong, a technology and compliance lawyer at London-based legal services firm Cordery, told MobiHealthNews. “It’s not as binary as that.”

He pointed out that for a small company doing clinical trials, the cloud may in fact be more secure and more likely to protect sensitive data because it’s not on someone’s personal laptop. Further, it could allow pharmaceutical companies to use that data more proportionately.

“If it’s a critical trial, that company could use a platform that would suit anonymized data more rapidly,” he explained. “If that cloud-based app is structured correctly, it’s less likely someone can ID the individual, because the software can help us use anonymizing techniques more efficiently.”

Pharmaceutical companies are very complex organizations in respect to their info and data needs. And for those involved in clinical research, a lot of information is collected about individuals, much of it extraordinarily sensitive.

“Every application is going to be different, and people are putting a lot of thought into the use of cloud,” he said. “But you’ve got to plan privacy data into that equation.”

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