Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Expectations & Realities of Clinical Trial Evolution

Joining the Partnerships in Clinical Trails US speaking faculty is Greg Sweatt, Senior VP of Life Sciences at ePatientFinder. As a co-founder, Greg was able to use his background in Health Care IT and apply it to the complex problem of matching the right patients with the right clinical trials. A loved one’s battle with Alzheimer’s, and physicians being unaware of existing clinical trials, was part of the impetus to partner with EHR vendors and their physicians to compliantly use patient health information in the consideration of clinical trial recruitment.

At the upcoming event, Greg will be presenting a session titled "The Expectations and Realities of Clinical Trial Evolution - Digital to EHR Data". As a lead in to this exciting talk, Greg joined us for exclusive Q&A to discuss the major trends, concerns, disruptors, innovation and his key to long term success in the clinical trials industry.

What trends do you currently see within the clinical trials industry?
GS: ‘Patient Centricity’ is rapidly becoming a buzz word that doesn’t always mean ‘make the patient’s experience better’. Marketing directly to patients or overwhelming them with information does make it easier for patients, and their families, to participate in clinical trials. Leveraging relationships that patients already have with trusted individuals, like their attending physician, is a needed alternative approach. When a patient realizes that his or her doctor is proactively learning about clinical trials, considering their exact disease state and helping them through the referral process, they are grateful that all the information collected over the years is being used to their benefit. Surrounding patients with these teams of caring and motivated providers puts them in the ‘center’ of a more positive experience.

What are your three biggest concerns about the industry?
GS: 1.) Too many sites are underperforming. The cost (and risk) associated with activating sites that do meet accrual numbers can be avoided. 2.) Ambivalence shown by site staff when receiving qualified referrals. They have been conditioned by the fact most self diagnosed and self referred patients are not qualified. 3.) Patient and Physician lack of awareness of trials.

What do see as the biggest disruptor in clinical trial over the next few years?
GS: A compliant means of using EHR data to accurately identify patients for clinical trials is the holy grail. With every physician encounter, inclusion and exclusion information is entered about a patient. Allowing a physician the ability to use that information to educate a patient about a clinical trial is something that inherently benefits the patient. The data is there, the referring physicians are willing and the patient is appreciative.

In your opinion, what is the secret to long-term success in clinical trials?
GS: The secret to long term success is getting the referring physician involved. This allows CROs and sponsors to tap into entirely new populations of patients that have never participated in trials before. We at ePF have been able to accomplish this by creating a model that educates referring physicians on trial opportunities and we take all the work out of the process by automating it with our platform. We are also able to compliantly compensate them for the time they spend with their patients in a similar fashion that they would be compensated for treating them.

What role will innovation play in the future of clinical trials?
GS: Innovation is on ongoing concern and we believe that the physician and data will always be at the heart of innovation. The more physicians that ultimately participate, the more patients participate. This leads to more successful trials conducted more quickly.

To hear more from Greg, join him at Partnerships in Clinical Trials US this October 5-7 in Boston, MA. Click here to learn more.

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