Five Predictions Fueling the Future of Clinical Research

January 06 2023

With any new beginning, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on what has passed. For the clinical trial industry, 2022 was a year of adapting to evolving industry dynamics. The industry continued to embrace technology but also returned to in-person activities. All the while, new pressures emerged – staffing shortages and inflation to name a few.  As we enter into 2023, Greenphire is looking at these needs as opportunities to create more efficiency and convenience in clinical trials.

There’s tremendous potential to continue to improve processes for clinical trials while minimizing burdens still experienced by those involved. In this new year, we expect trends to continue toward making clinical trials more accessible and inclusive, putting greater emphasis on sustainable practices and investing in technology to support sites while driving protocol flexibility to enhance the participant experience. 

In a recent roundtable discussion, we heard from several Greenphire experts on topics impacting the industry today. View their insights and actions we can each take to progress the industry ahead:

Remove Site Burdens with Flexible eClinical Solutions

“The research site is at the heart of a clinical trial; site staff play such an integral role, yet the burden they face is seemingly increasing. Between staffing challenges, protocol complexities on the rise and having to navigate the hybrid landscape, there is an ever growing need to support sites in conducting clinical research. With this trend, the onus is on sponsors / CROs and solution providers to understand the site burden and drive change. It is more critical now than ever that these stakeholders listen to sites and offer flexible solutions that empower them with intuitive and connected workflows throughout the clinical trial lifecycle.” -Jim Murphy, CEO

Action Step: More flexibility means more convenience – for both patients and sites. Intuitive and connected workflows are vital to providing the convenience that patients and sites need. We must continue creating tools and technologies that can integrate into sites’ existing processes to support them and drive efficiency throughout the clinical trial process.  

Clinical Trial Diversity: Increase Access for All to Make a Difference

“To bridge the gaps of health equity, the life sciences industry must start by remembering that participants are people. Access to and means of participating in a trial differ by population and by the individual. For example, not all patients and caregivers have access to reliable transportation for visits.  As such, offering a specialized travel service to eliminate the logistical hassle of finding a ride, can make participation easy and more comfortable. This is just one example of how we as an industry can work towards improving access, inclusion, and care to participants who may not be able to access it otherwise.” Jaleeysa King, Business Analyst

Action Step: The development of tools and services to make trials more accessible and inclusive will continue to be crucial. Access is not readily available to everyone, and logistical barriers, such as travel times and cost, can hinder patient engagement and retention. As an industry, it will continue to be a top priority to work toward having more diverse representation and patient participation in clinical trials. 

Supporting the Clinical Research Workforce with Robust Resources 

“In 2022, we witnessed increased inflation and significant staffing shortages, both of which created tremendous strain on research sites. As we move into 2023, we expect sites will continue to face these challenges; as such, it will be crucial for the industry to respond with more than just new tools. Sites want partners who will enable them to do their jobs better through consultative relationships. “ – Erica Cohen, Chief Experience Officer

Action Step: The workforce today is ever-changing. As a result of the Great Resignation of 2022, employers have found it difficult to meet the demands of hiring new staff, but it also has created gaps in experienced workers. This creates a strain on sites as they must continually re-train employees and get them up-to-speed on processes and technology. Therefore, it will be crucial for sponsors, CROs and vendors to commit to site centric approaches, and offer fit-for-purpose technology which solves business problems and training on those tools. Through this, sites can spend less of their own time streamlining processes and instead focus on patient care.

Streamline eClinical System Integration

“The trend we’re trying to drive and expect to see is more direct system-to-system integration between all clinical trial stakeholders –  CROs, sponsors, and technology providers – less email, less website, less file transfer, etc., and instead, an increase in more direct API integrations.” – Alan Matuszak, Chief Technology Officer

Action Step: A common trend in many areas of clinical research and trials is interoperability. The key is ensuring that all the systems and processes involved in a trial are cohesive and work together smoothly. It will continue to be essential that vendors establish a strong working relationship with the client/site/sponsor so they can reach more successful outcomes. 

Increased Awareness of Clinical Research Globally

As a result of the pandemic, the global public is significantly more educated about the importance of clinical research for developing new therapies to prevent and treat disease. In 2023, there will be a continued focus on strengthening education and communication efforts within clinical research.– Joe Gough, Senior Solutions Specialist, Medical Centers and University Accounts

Action Step: The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the world to the importance of clinical research. With greater awareness and understanding of clinical research, we could see an increase in participation. In addition, we expect the technological advancements being made in clinical research to further support global education while enhancing and simplifying the experience for participants. Digital platforms, such as those offered by foundations and non-profit organizations, will play an increasingly important role in educating communities about healthcare options and finding novel treatments, as well as creating a feedback loop for trial participants. A digitally connected patient journey is the path of the future. 

Looking forward

2023 promises to be an impactful year for the clinical research industry. At Greenphire, we’re looking forward to working alongside the medical heroes to help make clinical trials more streamlined, efficient, and inclusive for all involved. 

To read more about what our team predicts for this upcoming year, check out our articles with Pharmavoice and Outsourcing Pharma.

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