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Sponsors and CROs can ease the burdens of patients, sites, and physicians by identifying these 3 key areas.
Nobody knows what sites need to optimize clinical trial management better than the sites themselves.
When sponsors and CROs provide sites with long lists of products and platforms, they often overlook the unique needs and preferences of individual sites in favor of one-size-fits-all options.
Site teams already are under a tremendous time and labor burden. They need the flexibility to choose the solutions they want without adding new time or labor burdens or unnecessary costs. Clinical trial technology companies must offer sites the power to work the way they want, and help them unlock new efficiencies in trial conduct.
Following are 3 areas where sponsors and CROs can help make sites’ lives easier while improving access to research for more patients, building more robust physician networks, and developing consent solutions that work for all stakeholders.
A growing number of sites are tired of trying to integrate disparate technology offerings from sponsors and CROs, and are purchasing their own eConsent solutions to enable consistency across all their trials.
Sites choose this approach because it lets them conduct consent activities in ways they and their patients prefer, instead of using sponsor-provided options. For example, a site may not want a typical eConsent option, and prefer to use paper consent for patients who are not comfortable with technology. Or, a patient might be unable to visit the site but still want a personal connection, so the site can obtain consent via video.
These options allow sites to tailor their eConsent program in a way that works best for them and their patients. Flexibility to consent patients in person or remotely, either electronically or via paper, is a powerful tool that helps sites ensure accuracy and security, and convey a consistent message to patients about the risks and benefits of trial participation.
Whether sites procure their own eConsent technology or use technology provided by study sponsors, they should have the ability to load all consents—regardless of how they are collected—into a centralized digital system for secure storage.
Approximately half of all clinical trial patients cite a lack of reliable transportation as a barrier to clinical trial participation.1 Further, a recent survey revealed that 95% of responding clinical trial sites reported the ability to provide transportation for patients would improve recruitment efforts.2 Gas prices are at historical highs; perhaps patients can’t afford to spend the out of pocket expense. There can be many added factors keeping patients from making clinical trial visits, including lack of access to a reliable vehicle, or distances from clinical sites that are not served by public transportation. We need to make it easier for patients to make their site visits, particularly as we redouble our efforts to engage underserved communities and build more inclusive clinical trials.
Leveraging ride-share technologies like Uber is a new option that is helping sites remove transportation-related barriers for patients. Modern trial management platforms can even integrate ride-share scheduling to allow sites to easily arrange for and track patient journeys to and from sites. By making it as simple as possible for both sites and patients, we can decrease or eliminate missed visits and keep studies on track.
Patients trust their doctors. Site teams know general health care practitioners are important gatekeepers to reach more—and more diverse—groups of patients. In fact, in an industry survey 81% of patients who had never participated in a clinical trial indicated they would be likely to do so if referred by their doctor.3 However, most general practitioners are not reliably aware of the types of clinical trials available to their patients who could benefit, and sites are too busy with other critical tasks to add the burden of manually seeking out new physician referrers.
The good news is technology exists today that allows study teams to tap into much larger groups of physicians to spread awareness of clinical trials. Automating clinician outreach based on data that finds specific disease populations and physician specialties can save sites time and money, while significantly expanding the number of doctors who are aware of a given clinical trial.
A more informed network of clinicians is better able to identify patients who might benefit from clinical trial participation, and refer them to specific studies. This approach has the potential to greatly enhance patient recruitment efforts, including efforts to increase patient population diversity.
The role of clinical trial sites in the success of any given study cannot be understated. Clinical trial technology companies can improve the site experience by providing solutions that allow them to work the way the want more efficiently and cost-effectively. Sites can use this technology to provide the best possible patient experience.
Rob Bohacs, ClinOne Founder and Chief Solutions Officer