When Does Patient Centricity Equal Burden?

Published on: 
Applied Clinical Trials, Applied Clinical Trials-11-01-2022, Volume 31, Issue 11

Industry experts reinforce not putting all eyes on the patient.

There is a lot of talk about money. Inflation, recession, interest rates, which we feel most directly in our trips to the grocery store, going to events, or just keeping our cars running. All of this makes people anxious, and, in turn, serves to reinforce the negative churn in the markets. In this issue of Applied Clinical Trials, our main feature discusses inflation in relation to running global clinical trials. And indicators are, yes, around inflation, funding, and investment, but as a short-term problem. In the long-term, global clinical trials are not in danger of slowing down.

Other trends in clinical trials are signaling longer-term fiscal impact. Let’s look at the pandemic. While its silver lining was a forced pivot to decentralized trials, DCTs still have an aura of the unknown. Which technologies should be implemented? How are sites going to be trained or compensated for technological shifts? If participants are mostly monitored at home, how does that shift clinical trial agreements and contracts? But also, when does the use of technology in DCTs become a burden to patients?

Another long-standing debit in the clinical trials industry is the cost of low participant enrollment and retention in clinical trials. But if patient centricity becomes patient burden, it causes a deficit with patients themselves. If data is the currency in clinical trials, then patients are the medium. As a finite resource, participant time and emotional investment into a clinical trial is immeasurable and should not be idly wasted.


For a long time, industry was accused of not considering participants at all in clinical trials, and the patient-centric movement was born. Recent discussions with veteran industry professionals indicate a real desire to move away from overt patient burden in the guise of centricity, and into the reality of clinical trial participation.

Even a pharma CEO recently noted that sometimes, patients just don’t want all eyes focused on them. They just want to live their lives. And feel the same anxieties we all do.

Lisa Henderson is Editor-in-Chief of Applied Clinical Trials. She can be reached at lhenderson@mjhlifesciences.com.