Friday, February 3, 2017

INDUSTRY OVERVIEW: Patient-centricity in clinical trials today

Patients as Partners Month

For February, we will be shifting our topical focus from Niche Outsourcing to Patients as Partners. Over the course of the month we’ll be bringing you a range of interviews, videos and opinions on patient-centricity in clinical trial outsourcing, procurement, operations, and innovation. 

The clinical trials industry has come a long way from where is once was, but there is plenty of room for growth and improvement. Many industry professionals know nearly 80% of clinical trials fall short of their recruitment targets and that an estimated 30% of participants will drop out of a trial before its completion.

As an industry, there is a general understanding that an advanced commitment to patient-centricity will shape the future of this space. However, two questions first need to be asked: what does patient-centricity really mean? And is it truly at the core of clinical trials?
The generally accepted notion of patient-centricity is that patient involvement should reach well beyond the basic consideration that the patient is a ‘research subject’. Throughout trial design and execution, you must leverage the patient – this is a huge opportunity to define meaningful outcomes from a different perspective.

Many of these programs are still in their infancy and best practices are constantly evolving, but even as these programs grow, some key traits that make a trial patient centric still exist.
  • - Trial design involvement: By conducting this upfront research with the patients, you’re able to learn about key needs, concerns and motivations that are unique to your trial. 
  • - Updated informed consent: The explanation of research is often intimidating to the patient. The lengthy complex documents are difficult, if not impossible, to comprehend for them – which means this is not truly informed consent. A layman’s terms version needs to be presented to the patients to help expand trial participation. 
  • - Communication: As every person digests information differently, why would a trial communicate information via one specific medium? Patients need to select how they are provided updates to account for better reporting and monitoring. This varies from patient to patient and will span both traditional and digital communication channels. 
  • - Retention support: Your work isn’t finished once a patient has enrolled for a trial. Additional support is often required for things such as diary completion, medication and study visits, and supporting these patients via their preferred communication format, will result in fewer dropouts. 
  • - Patient support: Having something as simple as prepared answers for the ‘everyday questions’ provides the patient peace of mind throughout the trial. For a patient, knowing how the trial is going, when data will be available, if they receive their individual results and so on helps put the mind at ease. 
  • - The human element: Clinical trial participants are what helps the industry develop major medical advances. It may sound simple, but treating the patient as a person, referring to them by their name rather than ‘subject XYZ’ goes a long way in participation and retention. 
As patients have become better educated and more empowered, they have begun to challenge the standard of care. Patient-centricity within clinical trials isn’t something clinical researchers should focus on in the coming years, this is something that is upon us now. Once patients are involved from early clinical development all the way through to commercial scale, clinical research will drastically improve.

Patient-centricity is one of the key topics 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.

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