ICON and Carnegie Mellon University Collaborate to Evaluate Patient-centric Informed Consent Processes

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Applied Clinical Trials

Dublin, Ireland, 23rd March 2015 – ICON plc, (NASDAQ: ICLR)a global provider of drug development solutions and services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, today announced that it is sponsoring a series of research projects, led by Professor Baruch Fischhoff, Ph.D., at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), to find new ways to improve information comprehension and retention by clinical trial participants. The research tools will include multimedia solutions from ICON’s Firecrest suite of products.

A leading authority on behavioural sciences in healthcare, Professor Baruch Fischhoff, Ph.D., is the Howard Heinz University Professor in the departments of Social and Decision Sciences and of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. A cognitive psychologist by training, Professor Fischhoff’s research focuses on risk communication, analysis and management, informed consent, security and environmental protection.

“We are looking into ways to help patients make well-informed decisions about whether to participate in clinical trials,” said Professor Fischhoff. “Our research will take advantage of advances in behavioural decision research and information technology to design and evaluate approaches for ensuring that patients understand the potential risks and benefits of joining trials.”


“Successful patient enrolment in clinical trials is dependent on an informed consent process that thoroughly and consistently explains the trial and instils trust in the patient,” commented Frances Abeton, VP Firecrest, at ICON plc. “The CMU research projects are designed to scientifically test, measure and validate what patients need in order to ensure truly informed consent. We also want to know how the presentation of clinical trial information affects patient understanding, confidence and trust.”

Following scientific peer review, the results of these studies will be accessible to the public and will influence the development of new ICON innovations, including a range of study management tools from Firecrest. Firecrest tools include investigator training, patient recruitment and retention services, eConsent, mobile data capture and an integrated patient and investigator portal, which greatly improve the compliance, consistency and quality of study-related activities by study personnel.