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Putting patients’ and families’ needs first can increase trial enrollment, reduce delays

Monday, February 1, 2016

Poor patient recruitment and retention in clinical trials is a huge challenge faced by drug de­velopers and a major contributor to the escalating cost of drug develop­ment.

Unfortunately, the typical clini­cal trial takes at least 30% longer than planned. The result is not only higher development costs, but also a potential loss of revenues due to delayed commercialization—which can range from hundreds of thousands to several million dol­lars for major products.

The move toward patient-centric clinical trial design and the use of social media, patient networks and advocacy groups to generate awareness among potential par­ticipants and spur recruitment has provided some gains. But trial logistics (i.e., travel frequency and distance, out-of-pocket costs/reim­bursement, and time-related issues such as incompatible schedules or other family issues) remain signifi­cant hurdles to clinical trial par­ticipation, especially for rare dis­ease studies conducted in multiple countries.

Patients and families are in­creasingly demanding trial designs that are less disruptive to their lives, that address special housing and transportation needs or re­duce travel requirements, and that provide assistance in their own language. Patient-oriented Web portals can help—but they are not enough, as 60% of the world’s pop­ulation has no Internet access or is not tech-savvy. Moreover, a num­ber of anxious families find that the ability to interact live with an assigned coordinator is more reas­suring than an impersonal website, and a better way to address specific concerns and needs in real time.

At Clincierge, we are seeing that a truly patient-centric “concierge” approach offers numerous real benefits for study sponsors as well as patients. An ongoing major rare disease trial that we have supported in this manner has, to date, main­tained a patient dropout rate of less than 5%, which is considerably low­er than the industry average of 30%.


Written by Guest Writer Scott Gray. Clincierge CEO Scott Gray is an acknowledged leader and innovator in the world of medical meetings, patient-centered clinical trial support and healthcare transportation. He co-founded Gray Consulting International in 1994 and still serves as CEO; since 2007, the company has been named as one of the “Top 25 Full-Service Event Management Companies in North America” six times. In 2013, the Clincierge concept was born as a means to improve patient centricity in clinical trials and general medical treatments.

This article was reprinted from Volume 23, Issue 02, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.comSubscribe >>

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