Patient Centric Clinical Trials: Reflections on 2017 and Tips for 2018

As 2017 wraps up, we’re looking back at how much clinical research succeeded in achieving patient centricity this year, and what new initiatives we can expect in the coming year as we work to improve patient centric clinical trials in both design and recruitment.

Various technologies have and will continue to impact how trial teams enroll patients, collect data, and keep patients engaged. But what this year has really demonstrated is that keeping the patient at the center doesn’t always have to involve costly programs and major overhauls in your system. Small changes can make a difference, too, and patients notice. That’s why we predict that sponsors will spend more time hearing from patients in person in 2018.

Here, we offer a few pieces of advice on how researchers working throughout the trial process can maintain patient centricity in the new year:

Before your trial begins:

If you want a patient perspective on your trial’s design, talk to patient advocacy groups.

Patient advocacy groups can offer a valuable perspective for trial design. In a recent survey from Partnerships in Clinical Trials, 48 percent of sponsors that seek patient input work with patient advocacy groups. Community organizations and disease nonprofits can share input from the perspective of their patient communities, as well as from individual members. This is important because patients want to weigh in; in a small survey of 145 engaged patients we conducted recently, 75% said they would be willing to provide perspective to a company planning a trial. Patient advocacy groups are also likely to share similar research goals, and partnerships in clinical trials can potentially help support trials in other ways, too.

When creating a trial listing, small edits to your trial listing can make a big difference.

Improvements in patient centricity can be made in any part of the clinical trial process, starting when patients first discover your trial. For example, a recent study found that simply listing certain details about your trial can make patients more likely to be interested in participating. Including information as simple as site locations makes patients more interested in joining a study, the survey found, but 77% of surveyed sponsors said they do not list site information in their trial listings. Sponsors can work with sites to improve the visibility of site contact information. Researchers can also use free tools like Antidote Bridge to add details to trial listings to make them more patient friendly.

During enrollment:

Help patients find trials they may be eligible for by working with a matching tool. receives 199 million visits per month, yet most of those visitors do not ultimately connect with a trial. When you work with a clinical trial matching company, patients answer a few questions leading up to seeing their results so they can access trials they’re more likely to be qualified for, which is a better patient experience. A trial matching company may also help you enhance your trial listing page to include the information that patients need to make a decision, such as site locations.

During your trial:

Include electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO) to help make it easier to hear from patients during a trial.

This year, clinical research saw an increase in the use of patient reported outcomes, both paper and electronic. With electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO), study teams can more easily collect information from patients in between study visits. We’ll be seeing more of this technology in 2018, too. The ePRO industry is slated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent, according to a recent report from Persistence Market Research. That’s good news for patients, since ePRO technology makes it easier for them to track symptoms and other outcomes on-the-go or between visits, rather than having to recall how they felt at their next site visit.

If applicable, use wearable devices in your trial – especially if they’re specifically designed for clinical research.

While the growth of ePRO has been important to improving patient data in clinical trials, in some instances, you may not even need to rely on patient reporting for critical information. Wearable devices have made some inroads into trials, as they give sponsors the opportunity to collect more objective data. Joe Dustin, principal of mobile health at Medidata, predicts that in 2018, we’ll see more wearables made specifically for medical settings. “Now, I’m seeing specific goals of trying to look for new digital endpoints in certain therapeutic areas,” he told MobiHealthNews.

While technology will certainly continue to play a big part in driving patient centricity in 2018, including the voice of patients in person is always powerful, too.

Ready to connect with Antidote’s network of patient advocates and nonprofits? Learn more about how help move research forward while keeping patients at the center.