Final part of our virtual roundtable summary
admedicum Business for Patients organized a series of small roundtables with patient and industry experts. This is an anonymized summary of those conversations in order to help you with your own decision making. With the current challenges in the healthcare system, we believed it important to listen to patients, understand their concerns, and co-create strategies to lessen the impact of challenges imposed by COVID-19. Here is part one on the issues facing patients and the industry and part two on patient engagement strategies.
Patient engagement and clinical trials
Sponsors need to engage with patients on any protocol design changes and actively communicate the change to minimize dropouts. Sponsors can push digitization more and reduce some burden to the patients or arrange for home nursing visits. Telemedicine platforms can be considered by the site to continue collecting data in ongoing trials and saving patients the visit to the hospital. This opportunity could change the future of biomedical research and generate cost savings for sponsors and benefits to patients from doing trials at home.
Sponsors and sites can continue to build interest in upcoming or postponed trials through online awareness campaigns that have pre-screening and a patient companion service to communicate to patients who are interested in the trial and meet the eligibility criteria.
It’s possible to minimize the slowdown in patient recruitment by informing the patient community of the situation and still maintaining trial information online. Via looking at Google Trends search behavior, we can see patients’ interest in finding trials and more information online about their disease remains high.
Hospitals and governments have to be clear when it is safe to restart clinical trials when more information is known. This information all needs to be available easily and prominently on the official company, hospital, and public websites. In these times, the patient2site approach is becoming even more important as patients are actively seeking options to join ongoing clinical trials but maybe hesitating to see their doctor physically.
Opportunities for a truly patient-focused product development
In pain, there is an opportunity for growth. Beyond sharing concerns, the roundtable participants highlighted opportunities for positive change. One main thread throughout the roundtable was:
Communication with patients digitally is key and disruptions and issues can be faced with open, transparent communications with patients. Digital formats may become even more part of the “new normal” including the dialogue between patients and the industry.
Public interest and awareness in health research and online research as a whole are at an all-time high due to the amount of Covid-19 trials and the urgent need to create a vaccine. We all have to capitalize on this newfound interest and make sure there is a follow-through to where patients actually get active.
We can build support for research participation more broadly. Clinical trials will have a higher standing and public recognition on the importance of clinical research will improve. Research and development will benefit from better communication between scientists, patients, and pharma. Despite increased acceptance of digital formats, the value of face-to-face interactions will be valued even more “after Corona”. The current situation will foster the globalization of the patient movement as patients around the globe are now faced with similar challenges concurrently.