Exclusive interview: Adama Ibrahim, Senior Clinical Operations Lead, Biogen
'We are working in an evolving ecosystem where we are either intentionally or without much choice having to change the way we work with patients.'
For Adama Ibrahim, Senior Clinical Operations Lead at Biogen, taking a more patient-centric approach to clinical trials is no longer a choice, but instead central to the future of the drug development industry; 'For us to be successful we need to make sure the patient experience is optimal and we need to be able to address problems.' She goes on to describe:
‘We're dealing with people here, we're not talking about machines, so we need to make sure that we treat them like human beings…Try to be more collaborative, try to listen more, but in a way that will actually affect the way we work, not just pay lip service.'
End of study patient surveys
One of the most important tools Ibrahim is using to achieve this is the end of study patient survey, which she sees as 'a tangible example of how you can actually collaborate and collect insights and be able to provide valuable, really specific information into your development programmes’.
Whilst every survey should be tailored to the needs and objectives of the trial, there is always one decisive question Ibrahim hopes to find the answer to: ‘Do people actually want to participate in trials again?’
‘Obviously, the people you approach could influence the next person who could join your study. You don't want to burn the bridge after one study, you want to learn how to build the bridge’, she explains.
However, for Ibrahim the impacts that the end of study patient survey could have on clinical trials extend far further than just patient retention and recruitment:
'I believe there will be a new business model that will very actively include end of study patient surveys. That will translate into more efficient protocol design, better cost efficiency, pharma not being the big bad guy anymore, much better collaboration and it will change our industry to become more consumer focused.’
The future of patient-centricity
Whilst patient surveys are a key part of improving patient-centricity for Ibrahim, they are not the only aspect driving it. More broadly, she is under no illusion as to the difficulties facing the industry and the ways these can be overcome:
'One of the key challenges that many companies are facing is that it is very hard to measure. The reason it is hard to measure is that everyone interprets it in different ways. At some point we will have to standardize it to move forward. It will have to be a collaborative effort where the industry shifts forward together.'
On this front Ibrahim is hopeful, in part, due to the fact major companies are already investing significant resources into collaboration and transparency in results, as well as including patients in their development programmes; ‘they've really affected their environments and the environments of patients who are participating in trails. That's certainly a start, but it is small baby steps.’
Patient-centricity is one of four streams at T3: Trials, Tech and Transformation on May 11-12 in Orlando, Florida. Register today and save up to $1,000 off standard rates and use the exclusive code T3BLOG17 to save an additional $200. Rates increase Friday, 1/27. Find out more here.