An Exploration of Useful Telemedicine-Based Resources for Clinical Research

Telemed J E Health. 2020 Jan;26(1):51-65. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2018.0221. Epub 2019 Feb 20.


Background: Clinical trials are key to ensuring high-quality, effective, and safe health care interventions, but there are many barriers to their successful and timely implementation. Difficulties with participant recruitment and enrollment are largely affected by difficulties with obtaining informed consent. Teleconsent is a telemedicine- based approach to obtaining informed consent and offers a unique solution to limitations of traditional consent approaches. Methods: We conducted a survey among 134 clinical trial researchers in academic/university-, industry-, and clinically based settings. The survey addressed important aspects of teleconsent, potential teleconsent enhancements, and other telehealth capabilities to support clinical research. Results: The majority of respondents viewed teleconsent as an important approach for obtaining informed consent and indicated that they would likely use teleconsent if available. Consenting participants at remote sites, increasing access to clinical trials, and consenting participants in their homes were viewed as the greatest opportunities for teleconsent. Features for building, validating, and assessing understanding of teleconsent forms, mobile capabilities, three-way teleconsent calls, and direct links to forms via recruitment websites were viewed as important teleconsent enhancements. Other telehealth capabilities to support clinical research, including surveys, file transfer, three-way video, screenshare, and photo capture during telemedicine visits, and proposed telemedicine capabilities such as video call recording, ID information capture, and integration of medical devices, were also viewed as important. Conclusions: Teleconsent and telemedicine are promising solutions to some common challenges to clinical trials. Many barriers to study recruitment and enrollment might be overcome by investing time and resources and further evaluating this technology.

Keywords: clinical research; teleconsent; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent*
  • Research Design
  • Research Personnel
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine*