The theme at the 10th annual Mobile Health in Clinical Trials event this month was ‘Supporting More Patients to Participate in Clinical Trials Remotely: What’s Working, What’s Not.’ As one of our favourite topics, we were excited to attend and discuss with industry leaders how we can all contribute to improving the decentralised and hybrid trial experience.
In addition, we had the pleasure of attending mdgroup’s Operational Implementation Manager, Katie Rowe’s demo presentation, “Supporting More Patients in Remote Clinical Trials: Success Stories and Challenges.”
Katie’s presentation outlined the use case for the Primarius Patient app. It explored how mdgroup brings value by putting patients first and how Sites, CROs, and Sponsors can use our technology to streamline communications and expedite payment and travel.
In this article, we share our top insights from the event.
Kicking off the event, we enjoyed the co-chair’s welcome, followed by a fireside chat. Both conversations focused on “what’s working and what’s not.” We were particularly interested in the insights shared by Patient Advocates Cindy Geoghegan and Ella Balasa, who set the tone by using their voice to start meaningful conversations about the industry’s need for patient-centricity.
We were encouraged that many of the industry leaders echoed this sentiment. Creating remarkable experiences for participants has long been our driving force and reason for being.
During his presentation, Stephen Ruhmel, Associative Director at Janssen Clinical Innovation, said: ‘Instead of thinking about patient engagement, sponsors should be thinking about patient delight.’ This line lingered with us throughout the event.
Understanding the patient sooner
One lesson we repeatedly heard from sites and patient advocates throughout the event was the need for better quality resources and participant support that supports clinical trial participation.
Participants need a combination of choice and the human touch to meet their needs and create a remarkable experience. However, given the current economic climate, many shared their concerns, indicating hesitancy in the industry to commit to resources such as travel and mobile health.
It is pertinent that everyone in the industry, from sponsors and CROs to project teams and feasibility personnel, carefully consider the sites and target populations’ requirements much earlier in the clinical journey. Early understanding is vital to truly understand the nuances of these participants’ experience and support their participation based on their indication, location, socioeconomic status, travel requirements, etc.
Sponsors also shared their experience of investing in vendor support that, later in the journey, appears to be the incorrect fit and was not the right investment. Unsuitable vendors are often due to a delayed understanding of the patient’s and site’s needs. Defining these requirements earlier in the clinical journey removes this concern from the sponsor.
One particularly enlightening session for us was a discussion with sites that shared their challenges.
One key point we found illuminating was a potential disconnect in the site’s ability to advocate for vendor resources despite sponsor access. We noted a demand for vendor partnerships that would benefit from implementation. Most of the sites during this discussion articulated their challenges, with many exciting ideas about the resources that could exist to improve their processes, which could be unnecessary if matched with a vendor that suits their needs.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Clinical Trials
There was significant conversation around the topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the industry. The patient’s distrust of clinical trials was addressed, with some of the solutions suggested including making technology more accessible, providing a solid patient support system, and helping participants feel more comfortable during the trial.
We were encouraged by these conversations, as these solutions are what mdgroup is all about, with the primarius patient mobile app offered in 50+ languages, 24/7 support, and staff who encourage relationship-building. We aim to create familiarity and a sense of comfort when participants, HCPs and carers work with us.
Being the change we want to see
We enjoyed meeting industry experts leading the charge and taking action to make changes that improve the clinical experience.
We learned a lot from speaking with our fellow attendees and were encouraged by the excitement many of you had for our unique services! If you didn’t get a chance to talk to us or want to find out more, get in touch.