Digital Innovation and Diversity: Emerging Trends Impacting European Clinical Trials

May 12 2021  

Research (noun): The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

Research, by its very definition, doesn’t stand still. Research is always transforming, improving and learning, including in the clinical sense.

Each of us do our part to drive research ahead – whether that’s identifying new compounds, processes or technologies. Our goal is to help get to future medicines and therapies faster.

As head of the Relationship Management team, I’ve worked with Greenphire clients to maximize their adoption of our site payment, patient reimbursement and travel programs across the world. Outdated, manual tasks tend to weigh down site staff and a dizzying array of visits and procedures create burden on patients.  I’ve been in this industry for 20 years, and never have I seen such a commitment to change.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in two webinars that highlight two interwoven topics – digital innovation and diversity. In this blog, I share with you insights from these events and links to watch the recordings. I hope this information is as useful to you as it was to me.

 

Digital Innovation: A Conversation with UK Stakeholders

Digital technology has been on the rise and transforming the drug development process since I started in this industry. From innovative trial designs to recruitment and retention tools, technology is increasingly being utilized to improve the patient experience and make it faster and more streamlined for those conducting studies.

We recently partnered with the Society for Clinical Research sites to present a webinar exclusively on the experience of different UK stakeholders – patients, sites, industry. Together we walked through the challenges and potential ways to leverage technology to improve the patient and site experience, and create efficiencies for sponsors and CROs as well.

While there are many challenges, don’t assume that everyone knows how to use technology. If there’s one lesson that COVID-19 thrust upon us is that everyone has different devices, and not everyone knows how to use them effectively. For example, Trishna Bharadia, Advocate and Patient Advisor, noted that she had to teach her mum how to use Zoom.

My colleague, Ben Gordon, Product Trainer at Greenphire, advocated for creating “short, sharp, just in time sessions” to get in front of large audiences with helpful educational trainings.

Shaun Treweek, Professor at the University of Aberdeen, was emphatic that digital tools can be used to further build and maintain relationships with participants. Prior to using technology, it was harder to know when participants dropped out of trials. Technology gives study operators the ability to further engage with participants, collecting meaningful data and validating people’s value in the overall study.

As you can see, it was a riveting discussion. Thankfully, the event has been archived and we invite you to listen to the replay here. 

 

Increasing Diversity in European Clinical Trials

There is often a mismatch between population demographics and the participants in clinical trials. This can have a dire impact as the results of a trial may not be broadly applicable to all affected by the disease. Time, money and opportunity are lost.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic further highlights this challenge. Many critically-ill patients are from ethnic minority backgrounds, and may not be participating in clinical trials at equivalent rates.

Creating awareness of clinical research, especially amongst isolated communities is essential to ensuring that drugs are tested and effective for all populations. EUPATI, the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation, is dedicated to education. Their publications and training empower patients to have a voice and share that voice with others in their communities.

Here at Greenphire, we’re increasingly speaking with sponsors, CROs and sites about building out their diversity toolkits and expanding the services provided to patients to remove burden from both patients and sites.

We recently hosted an interactive webinar with EUPATI featuring an esteemed panel of presenters to showcase the regional, gender and socio-economic differences that impact representation in clinical trials.

We encourage you to watch the replay to find out how you can make a difference in your communities and companies, to find ways to build trust and make clinical trials more inclusive. Watch the webinar replay here.

Angela La Ronde, Greenphire
Angela La Ronde
Director, Relationship Management

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