Patient-Centered Clinical Trials: Tips for Sites

In a previous blog post, we talked about the importance of building better research experiences for patients regardless of how a study is delivered. Whether study leaders design studies that are exclusively site-based or utilize elements that allow patients and caregivers to participate remotely should depend on what a study’s specific group of patients want and need. More patient-centered study designs are key to improving recruitment, retention, and keeping patients engaged over the course of a trial, factors that should combine to deliver higher quality safety and efficacy data more quickly.

This does mean that some standard ways of doing things will likely need to be abandoned in favor of more patient-centric customization. For site teams who are already crunched for time, it can sound like more work on top of an already overwhelming workload. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Technologies exist to help deliver better experiences for participants without overly taxing site teams. Following are some tips for sites on how best to utilize these technologies to make their lives simpler while managing patient-centric trials.

Engage More Efficiently

One of the key characteristics of patient-centered trials is connection. Patients, even if they are thousands of miles away from sites and participating entirely remotely, still want to feel connected to their site team. Choosing the right technologies is critical to maintaining patient engagement without overwhelming sites, particularly for larger, late-phase trials. Our TrialKit Engage solution, for example, allows both site team members and participants to connect via one intuitive web-based application. Site teams can easily use the platform to answer participant questions, engage face-to-face via virtual visits, and send reminders or check-in messages – all from one application. Through this kind of technology, site teams can increase the quality and even frequency of patient engagement without adding undue burden.

Delivering better patient experiences is absolutely necessary if we, as an industry, wish to run more accessible, inclusive, and data-rich studies. But this doesn’t have to mean adding burden to already overwhelmed site teams.

Help Keep Patients on Track with Study Performance Monitoring

A huge part of patient engagement comes when problems occur that require site teams to reach out and help. It can be difficult at times to know if a particular patient is struggling and may need a hand, whether that is a simple pick-me-up or more involved problem-solving to get them back on track. Even if technology is in place that makes it simple for participants to connect with sites, they may feel embarrassed about their difficulties or worse, they may be unexpectedly hospitalized and loved ones or caregivers may not know how to notify the study team. In cases like this, it is beneficial to have a robust study management platform in place. This way, when data is collected, it is immediately uploaded into the platform allowing study teams to monitor when study activities happen, as well as if any adverse events and serious adverse events occur. If there are gaps in activity, team members at the site can quickly reach out to participants to find out if there is a problem and, if so, begin working to solve it. 

Keep it Simple

For sites, it seems like every aspect of the job requires its own software platform. Managing numerous platforms that often don’t play nicely with each other can be aggravating and time consuming. So, when looking at technologies that facilitate more patient-centered studies, it’s important to make things as simple as possible. Ease of use and reliability make all the difference when it comes to the user experience. For example, a sponsor can spend thousands of dollars on a solution but, if it’s overly complex and tedious to use, site teams will try to avoid it. The use of low-code or no-code software removes the need for site teams to be software experts. They can plug in the features they need and quickly launch them without the need for extensive training. 

Delivering better patient experiences is absolutely necessary if we, as an industry, wish to run more accessible, inclusive, and data-rich studies. But this doesn’t have to mean adding burden to already overwhelmed site teams. Employing the right technologies, we can make patient engagement and study management more efficient, allowing study teams to enhance their connections with patients without making their lives more difficult.

For more information on building and delivering patient-centered studies, or to arrange a demo of TrialKit, visit www.crucialdatasolutions.com/contact-us/

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