August 14, 2019
A Non-Technical Guide To Understanding Modern RTSM Technology Stacks
Written by: Sabrina Fei
Technology continues to advance at record speed. Previously ordinary products are now made available with extraordinary features: thermostats with voice recognition, cars that drive themselves, contactless credit cards, etc.
Everywhere we look we see technology making the impossible, possible. This holds true for the Pharmaceutical Industry as well. Despite its traditionally conservative and risk-averse nature, adopting modern technology is becoming inevitable for companies hoping to keep up with the rising complexity of clinical trials.
Within clinical research, significant improvements in speed, flexibility and simplicity could mean getting medicines to those who need them that much faster. That is why using a modern technology stack is so important.
What is a modern technology stack?
Simply put, a modern technology stack is a fully cloud-based infrastructure for which a software can be built, hosted and deployed that brings unparalleled speed, quality, security and usability for the front and end-user.
A Randomization and Trial Supply Management (RTSM) system hosted on a modern technology stack offers:
1. Speed with flexibility
Speed to create new environments (a new stack for a sponsor) and update existing environments. Speed to clone an existing environment and troubleshoot issues without impacting or even touching the production environment. Speed to take and restore backups. This can be done in minutes as opposed to hours or days.
2. Seamless maintenance and upgrades
Access to the latest features frequently, without disruption. Software vendors, if they use Agile Development as well, can release new versions quickly. With blue/green deployment and microservices, your vendor can deliver many, smaller improvements on a regular basis to keep your RTSM at the cutting-edge while maintaining maximum uptime.
Plus, by leveraging Infrastructure as Code (IaC), modern software vendors can guarantee consistency across multiple environments and since all infrastructure designs are version controlled, reverting back to earlier versions of infrastructure design will never be an issue.
3. Minimal validation impact for changes
Microservices are able to de-couple certain features from the application as a whole so that updating them does not require revalidation of your entire RTSM system.
4. Full traceability and strengthened quality process
Since changes on the cloud are controlled and documented, it enables full traceability for your infrastructure and code.
5. Robust security and scalability
Amazon Web Services (AWS) built their cloud offering with security in mind. Between regional data centers, containers, and the intrinsic nature of the cloud, you have perfect copies of the whole picture that only the right people can access. Since AWS is being leveraged for storage, capacity at scale will never be an issue.
In the world of RTSM technology, modern stacks are most beneficial when coupled with modern software development practices such as Agile. An Agile process would include continuous integration, so every time the developers build new features, tests are run to ensure the new feature does not disrupt what was already written. If any flaws are detected, they are fixed before the feature is added.
The bottom line is technology is evolving quickly. In order to not be left behind, it is important to be on the latest applications within a modern stack. A good RTSM vendor provides the sponsor with the option to utilize the most exciting new features. Using a modern stack for your RTSM ensures your system is able to run on the latest applications and infrastructure, is regularly scanned for vulnerabilities and most importantly provides added security that everything continues to function as intended, without disruption.
Download our Modern Technologies in Clinical Trials white paper.
Tag(s): Study Execution , Innovation
Sabrina Fei, 4G Clinical Senior Marketing Manager, has 6 years of experience in B2B healthcare marketing. Prior to joining the 4G team, Sabrina worked at a life sciences event organization, where she led a team of marketers to generate and implement impactful, multifaceted marketing strategies.