7 Tips for Choosing ePRO Vendors

Using electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePRO) in your clinical trial can be a powerful way to include accurate and timely patient information and feedback.

Today, ePRO vendors offer a range of options for creating an e-diary or similar tool that works for your study. Depending on your needs, you can find an ePRO solution that includes patient engagement tools, communicates easily with your Interactive Web Response System (IWRS), and provides support services during your trial.

If you haven’t used ePRO before, it may feel simpler – and cheaper – to just stick with good, old-fashioned paper forms. For those still feeling on the fence about ePRO in general, take a look at our blog post on how to decide whether it’s time to switch to ePRO.

Ready to talk to vendors? If you go into talks with ePRO vendors knowing what to expect, you’ll get a better sense of what solution is the right one for your trial. Consider the below questions and factors when you start your ePRO vendor search.

1. Think about what devices your study will use, and ask potential vendors for their input, too.

Are you looking for a vendor to provide electronic devices, or should patients provide their own? Some vendors offer both options. Also consider what kind of images participants will be looking at on their electronic devices. If there are graphs or other small, detailed images, a tablet might be a better choice than a smartphone, for example. If you’re considering allowing participants to use their own devices, ask vendors about their experiences in that area and make sure their tools are compatible with both Android and iOS.

2. Share your protocol with potential vendors, even if it’s not finalized.

If you share your protocol with potential vendors during the sales process, they can most likely create a prototype of what your e-diary would look like in advance. Even if your protocol isn’t finalized, you’ll still get a sense of the user experience and share feedback with the vendor about what you’re interested in.

3. Ask about patient engagement features.

One of the benefits of using ePRO is the ability to set up automated push notifications or emails to remind patients to enter their information at the right time. Some ePRO tools also include functionality for creating informational newsletters and even games to help keep patients returning to the app.

4. Learn what the company’s ePRO design process is like.

Some vendors offer drag-and-drop tools to design your own ePRO solution, while other vendors may be more hands on with your team.

5. Understand the upfront costs as well as potential savings down the line.

Some sites and sponsors are hesitant to start using ePRO because of the associated costs of setting up a new system in the beginning. At the same time, ePRO can help reduce costs by saving staff time spent manually entering information. Ask potential vendors if they’ve received feedback from clients about cost saving thanks to ePRO; these case studies can help you make an educated decision. You can also consider asking to talk to previous customers to learn more about their experiences.

6. Ask about the vendor’s experience with different condition areas and types of trials.

The ePRO option can be particularly helpful if you’re looking to collect sensitive information. For example, one study found that patients were more likely to report sexual activity when using ePRO than they were on paper, perhaps thanks to an increased feeling of privacy. Some platforms also include tools to capture data that would otherwise be difficult to include, such as screening for mental health issues.

7. Learn what support services the ePRO vendor offers after your trial has started.

While most vendors will be happy to offer your team some support after your trial starts, levels of support vary. Some companies have 24/7 customer support offerings, while others may have smaller teams. As you discuss the vendor’s mockup and other elements of working together, also consider the role you would like the company to play once your trial starts running.

When you’re ready to start enrolling patients in your ePRO trial, Antidote is here to help.