ActivMed Practices & Research, which runs a clinical research center in Northern Massachusetts, has opened a second site in Rochester, N.H., a city where patient access to clinical trials could help raise the level of healthcare in the community by offering higher standards of treatment and access to cutting-edge therapies.
When ActivMed looked at the demographics of the population in Rochester, CEO and President Terry Stubbs decided it was a good area to develop for clinical research. The community, which has one of the lowest per capita incomes in New Hampshire and an unemployment rate higher than the state average, has a large percentage of underserved patients who want access to health treatments. “It’s a blue-collar population. There are a lot of people who have lost their insurance because they have lost their jobs or are self-employed doing clamming or chopping wood to make ends meet,” said Stubbs, who has managed more than 300 clinical trials and has more than 22 years of healthcare management experience. “We believe recruitment will do well because we can offer services to people that they normally wouldn’t get. We figured it might be a good place to run clinical trials and help people get more healthcare.”
When ActivMed’s new center opened Aug. 9, it had already begun recruiting and screening patients for a two-year chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) trial that does not include a placebo, which means all patients will receive an active drug. The new center also is awaiting word on seven other clinical trial applications still pending.
In addition to the large patient pool, Stubbs also found physicians in Rochester eager to participate in clinical research. “One of the physicians who has a family practice there was very interested in helping us to expand. Physicians he knows also are jumping on board, so it all seemed to fall into place,” she said.
Six physicians who specialize in family practice, anesthesiology and pain have agreed to conduct clinical studies from the site, and ActivMed has hired two staff members for the center. The 900-square-foot research site includes two exam rooms, a waiting area, laboratory space, and monitor and office areas. In addition, the research center is behind an independent pharmacy, where the site will be able to post clinical trial recruitment information.
ActivMed’s two sites, which are about 50 miles apart, will share regulatory services based in its Haverhill, Mass., office. In addition, ActivMed has a full-time recruiter who will be responsible for both offices.
ActivMed offers a multi-specialty network of research physicians and psychiatrists and participates in phase I, II, III, IIIB and IV clinical trials on an inpatient and outpatient basis. The company has a database of more than 250,000 patients. Although ActivMed doesn’t have immediate plans to open additional sites, Stubbs said the company has begun to explore the possibility of running an international site. “But that’s in the future,” she said.