Innovo Research, a new venture started by Wilmington Health, the Christie Clinic and QuintilesIMS, a global leader in healthcare intelligence, will build a robust network of high-performing accountable care organizations (ACOs). A key benefit of this arrangement will be a larger pool of clinical trials patients to draw on.
ACOs are particularly well-suited to serve as the foundation of this new nationwide network. By definition, ACOs are a collaborative group committed to providing high-quality, coordinated care to their patients. To that end, the electronic medical records (EMRs) of all patients are connected, resulting in access to patient information on the part of all the providers in the network.
The interconnected network also gives a boost to the clinical trials team, giving its members “the capacity to pull identified prescreened patients available for clinical trials,” said Jeff James, CEO of Wilmington Health. “But we want to do more than just provide patients; we want to conduct studies that are meaningful. Our goal is to improve healthcare outcomes for patients, lower costs and improve patient engagement and satisfaction with their healthcare.”
In fact, these components comprise the triple aim of healthcare, the guiding principle behind Innovo Health. What is unique about this new partnership is that patients will have the option to both receive care and participate in clinical trials through their relationships with providers in the network.
Research is growing to validate the effectiveness of this approach. A survey of patients with diabetes conducted by Wilmington Health and its partners is a case in point. It focused on finding out whether participation in clinical trials affected the patients’ engagement in their own healthcare, the quality of care and costs.
The findings were a resounding affirmation of this arrangement. All the patients surveyed said that involvement in the clinical trial improved their interest and involvement in their own healthcare and reduced their costs; 95% said that their overall care was significantly or somewhat better than the care they had received in the past. James attributes these results to the “high-touch” aspect of clinical trials.
“Patients see their providers and coordinators more often,” he said. “They’re held to certain standards and protocols, and along the way, these medical professionals develop a more personal relationship with their patients.”
Kenny Bilger, CEO of the Christie Clinic, in Champaign, Illinois, concurred, adding, “The more actively engaged patients tend to have better outcomes from the therapies introduced to them by their healthcare provider, and over the long term, have overall lower costs of care. What’s more, because of their increased involvement, their health often improves regardless of the impact of the therapy being tested. Finally, more engaged patients provide excellent feedback during a trial, information that can be used to benefit the entire population.”
James also pointed out that the cost savings can be linked to the improved health of the patients. “We see fewer issues with comorbid conditions and lower hospital admission rates,” he noted. “While some of the costs may be transferred to the pharmaceutical industry, they’re only a small fraction compared to the savings from the reduced medical needs of the patients.”
QuintilesIMS will play a key role in this enterprise. The company will ensure that all the data are collected consistently and provide reliable outcomes to study sponsors.
“Having a partner like QuintilesIMS was critical as we began this journey to providing greater value to the clinical trial system for our study sponsors,” said Bilger. “With Innovo Research’s ability to access patients and the data confidence that QuintilesIMS provides, we give the pharmaceutical industry the best of both worlds.”
QuintilesIMS brings another benefit to the partnership: enhanced recruitment possibilities. “We only have access to patients with EHRs,” explained James. “QuintilesIMS can bring in other patients who are not in our system.”
But Innova Research is not going to only depend on QuintilesIMS to add to its patient population. The new venture is looking to expand the number of ACOs in the network. Innova is already in conversation with five or six ACOs. The partnership’s goal is to bring in 10 to 12 over the next three years.
“ACOs allow us to have a concentrated number of patients in fewer sites,” added James. “With 150-300 physician groups within the ACOs, we have access to at least 175 providers. This means that we’ll be able to find the right investigators quickly and efficiently, allowing us to achieve high economic recruitment capabilities.”
In addition to ensuring that study sponsors have the providers and patients they need, the partnership will be able to be more proactive in determining what studies are needed. By reviewing patient data, the network providers will be able to assess gaps in care across the network and find the types of studies that would most benefit the patient population. “This is a win-win for everyone,” James said.
With the agreement with QuintilesIMS now signed, Innovo Research is excited about moving forward. “To the best of my knowledge, our approach is the first in the industry,” concluded James. “I don’t think other research networks have our capabilities, and they are not approaching clinical trials in this way.”
This article was reprinted from Volume 21, Issue 35, of CWWeekly, a leading clinical research industry newsletter providing expanded analysis on breaking news, study leads, trial results and more. Subscribe »