How “Synthetic Patients” May Become the Future of Clinical Trials

In a world where medical breakthroughs constantly push the boundaries of possibility, the realm of clinical trials remains ensnared in a web of challenges.

Patient recruitment and representation issues have long plagued the industry, hampering progress and stifling innovation.

However, with the emergence of AI-powered “synthetic patients” that have the ability to simulate human physiology, these virtual beings are poised to revolutionize clinical trials.

Learn more bout this blend of technology and healthcare as the transformative potential of “synthetic patients” unfolds.

What are synthetic patients?

Synthetic patients are virtual models created using artificial intelligence, representing a comprehensive range of human physiological characteristics. These digital entities are developed based on vast real-world clinical data and can simulate human responses to various medical interventions.

They serve as digital stand-ins for real patients in clinical trials, helping to predict treatment outcomes, side effects, and more.

Consequently, synthetic patients offer a promising solution to some of the most significant challenges in clinical trials, such as patient recruitment and representation.

Limitations of traditional clinical trials

There are some limitations of traditional clinical trials that medical professionals are hopeful synthetic patients can help to overcome like patient recruitment, narrow health condition criteria, underrepresentation, and ethics of control groups.

Patient recruitment

Recruiting patients for clinical trials often proves challenging, particularly when the criteria are narrowly defined around specific health conditions.

Such stringent conditions can significantly narrow the pool of potential participants, making reaching the desired sample size difficult.

Furthermore, these narrow criteria may exclude a diverse range of individuals, potentially skewing results and limiting the generalizability of the study’s findings.

Narrow health condition criteria

Narrow health condition criteria in traditional clinical trials often fail to represent the complexity of real-world patients.

Many individuals have multiple health conditions or non-standard presentations, reducing the applicability of trial results.

Thus, synthetic patients promise a more comprehensive and accurate approach to clinical trials, given their ability to mimic a range of health complexities.


Historically, marginalized racial and ethnic groups have been grossly underrepresented in clinical trials.

This lack of diversity has often led to a skewed understanding of drug efficacy and adverse effects, potentially causing disparities in treatment outcomes.

Endeavoring to rectify this, synthetic patients, with their capacity to embody a diverse range of physiological features, hold the potential to ensure more equitable and inclusive representation in clinical trials.

Ethics of control groups

In traditional clinical trials, the use of control groups who receive a placebo rather than the treatment under investigation is a common practice.

However, this element of clinical testing posits ethical issues, particularly when it involves potentially life-saving treatments.

Synthetic patients circumventing this ethical concern can facilitate a more ethical approach to clinical trials by negating the need for a placebo group.

Emergence of synthetic patients in clinical trials

The emergence of synthetic patients in clinical trials can be attributed to AI creation of synthetic patients, the growing role of synthetic patients in control arms, and AI simulating drug interactions.

AI creation of synthetic patients

Generative AI, at the helm of creating synthetic patients, utilizes layers of algorithms known as neural networks to generate new data from existing data patterns.

It learns the intricacies of the human physiological system from vast amounts of real-world clinical data, constructing precise digital replicas.

In essence, these AI models can simulate human responses to many medical interventions, capturing the variation and complexity inherent in human physiology.

Role of synthetic patients in control arms

Synthetic patients play a pivotal role in the control arms of clinical trials, serving as a digital replacement for human subjects who would traditionally receive a placebo.

This approach not only mitigates the ethical concerns associated with placebo use but it also allows for a more accurate comparison of treatment effects.

By simulating real-world human responses to medical interventions, synthetic patients provide reliable data on the treatment’s expected efficacy and potential side effects, which can be directly contrasted with the effects on the experimental group.

AI simulating drug interactions

AI’s proficiency in simulating drug interactions with synthetic patients could significantly elevate the precision in predicting outcomes.

It enables the emulation of the molecular dynamics of drug interactions within the human system, thereby providing invaluable insights into potential outcomes.

This ability could expedite the drug development process and enhance the safety and efficacy measures, consequently increasing the success rate of clinical trials.

Potential future of synthetic patients for comprehensive trials

Potential future uses for synthetic patients in comprehensive trials is to use them in both arms of clinical trials, provide more inclusive representation, gaining faster drug approvals, reducing trial costs, and broader population efficacy.

Use in both arms of clinical trials

While synthetic patients are currently primarily used in control arms of clinical trials, there is growing interest in exploring their use in both arms.

This approach could potentially eliminate the need for human subjects, thereby addressing common ethical concerns and logistical complexities associated with traditional clinical trials.

Furthermore, it could expedite the drug development process and enhance safety measures, promising a revolutionized landscape for clinical trials.

More inclusive representation

Synthetic patients hold great promise in ensuring a comprehensive representation in clinical trials.

By emulating diverse physiological features and responses, they can accurately represent different racial, ethnic, and age groups, irrespective of geographical location.

Therefore, the use of synthetic patients can help address the longstanding issue of underrepresentation and promote inclusiveness and equity in clinical trials.

Faster drug approvals

The implementation of synthetic patients can potentially quicken the pace of drug approvals.

Providing highly accurate and extensive data can expedite decision-making processes for regulatory bodies like the FDA.

As a result, life-saving medications could reach patients more swiftly, significantly impacting public health outcomes.

Reduced trial costs

The use of synthetic patients could potentially reduce the costs associated with conducting clinical trials.

Traditional trials often entail considerable expenses, including patient recruitment, data collection, and monitoring.

By streamlining these processes and minimizing human involvement, synthetic patients promise cost-efficient and effective alternatives.

Broader population efficacy

Synthetic patients could also pave the way for developing therapies that are effective for a broader population.

Their ability to simulate diverse physiological responses can facilitate the development of drugs and treatments that cater to a wide range of health complexities prevalent across different demographics.

Consequently, this could lead to personalized medicines being more efficacious and inclusive, enhancing the overall effectiveness of healthcare interventions.

Ethical considerations of synthetic patients

Some ethical considerations of synthetic patients include privacy and data protection, bias in AI algorithms, accuracy and reliability, integration with traditional trials, and training and education around this new technology.

Privacy and data protection

The use of AI-generated synthetic patients raises concerns about the privacy and protection of patient data used to train these models.

It is crucial to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to secure this information while still allowing it to be used to improve healthcare outcomes.

Bias in AI algorithms

As with any technology, there is a risk of bias in AI-generated synthetic patients.

It is essential that these models are developed and tested to ensure they do not perpetuate any existing biases in healthcare.

Accuracy and reliability

Synthetic patients’ accuracy and reliability are paramount in clinical trials.

If the AI-generated models are not accurate enough, it could lead to incorrect predictions and false conclusions about the efficacy and safety of treatments.

Rigorous validation against real-world outcomes is therefore essential to ensure the dependability of these synthetic patients in clinical trials.

Integration with traditional trials

While synthetic patients hold great promise, it is crucial to consider their integration with traditional clinical trials.

This may involve protocols for combining data from both methods and addressing any discrepancies in results.

Training and education

Extensive training and education for researchers, physicians, and regulators will be required to implement AI-generated synthetic patients in clinical trials successfully.

It is crucial that these stakeholders have a thorough understanding of the technology’s capabilities and limitations to ensure its responsible use in healthcare.

Synthetic patients in clinical trials

AI-powered synthetic patients are poised to revolutionize clinical trials, offering a solution that addresses ethical concerns, expedites drug development, and enhances inclusiveness in representation.

By streamlining processes, they promise a cost-efficient alternative, potentially quickening drug approvals and facilitating the development of effective therapies for a broader population.

Looking to the future, the integration of AI in medicine and clinical research emerges not merely as a possibility but a necessity.

As we navigate these advancements, the paramount objective remains the responsible use of AI to empower healthcare and build a future where personalized and effective care is a reality for all.

Looking to hire top-tier Tech, Digital Marketing, or Creative Talent? We can help.

Every year, Mondo helps to fill over 2,000 open positions nationwide.

More articles about hiring and industry trends:

Related Posts

Never Miss an Insight

Subscribe to Our Blog

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A Unique Approach to
Staffing that Works

Redefining the way clients find talent and candidates find work. 

We are technologists with the nuanced expertise to do tech, digital marketing, & creative staffing differently. We ignite our passion through our focus on our people and process. Which is the foundation of our collaborative approach that drives meaningful impact in the shortest amount of time.

Staffing tomorrow’s talent today.