Development of Novel, Value-Based, Digital Endpoints for Clinical Trials: A Structured Approach Toward Fit-for-Purpose Validation

M. D. Kruizinga, F. E. Stuurman, V. Exadaktylos, R. J. Doll, D. T. Stephenson, G. J. Groeneveld, G. J. A. Driessen and A. F. Cohen

Novel digital endpoints gathered via wearables, small devices, or algorithms hold great promise for clinical trials. However, implementation has been slow because of a lack of guidelines regarding the validation process of these new measurements. In this paper, we propose a pragmatic approach toward selection and fit-for-purpose validation of digital endpoints. Measurements should be value-based, meaning the measurements should directly measure or be associated with meaningful outcomes for patients. Devices should be assessed regarding technological validity. Most importantly, a rigorous clinical validation process should appraise the tolerability, difference between patients and controls, repeatability, detection of clinical events, and correlation with traditional endpoints. When technically and clinically fit-for-purpose, case building in interventional clinical trials starts to generate evidence regarding the response to new or existing health-care interventions. This process may lead to the digital endpoint replacing traditional endpoints, such as clinical rating scales or questionnaires in clinical trials. We recommend initiating more data-sharing collaborations to prevent unnecessary duplication of research and integration of value-based measurements in clinical care to enhance acceptance by health-care professionals. Finally, we invite researchers and regulators to adopt this approach to ensure a timely implementation of digital measurements and value-based thinking in clinical trial design and health care.

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