COVID-19 forced the clinical research industry to evolve and develop at unprecedented rates. In the face of adversity, the industry came together to improve clinical trial conduct, making the most of technological advancements to create better patient experiences.
The #NoGoingBack pledge, which was initiated by Signant Health, is a statement from organisations across the world to continue forging forward. It’s a united front, and shows the importance of clinical leaders coming together to continue the momentum we’ve created in improving clinical trial conduct around the world.
This commitment means a lot to us at mdgroup. As an organisation, we’re dedicated to creating remarkable patient experiences, using new technologies to improve clinical trial conduct at every stage of the clinical journey.
It’s been interesting to see how the industry has developed over the past few months. Research organisations around the world were forced to innovate in the face of the crisis to ensure clinical trial continuity during COVID-19 – there was a need to keep existing trials running, and, critically, to find a vaccine for the virus.
Decentralised trials have become a much stronger focus in trial design, where before there was resistance. Technological advancements are being leveraged more effectively, as we’ve long believed they should, and the patient is now considered an important part of the protocol development process. Patient experience is now at the forefront.
What We Mean by Patient Experience
We’ve built our whole business around the importance of putting patients first in clinical research. We believe in creating remarkable patient experiences to produce better clinical outcomes. Happy patients are more engaged, more likely to stay in the trial until completion, and become strong advocates for clinical research going forward.
It’s more than that though. Patients are human beings, and in many cases historically, the research industry has treated them as subjects. This has a negative impact on patients’ wellbeing as well as the success of the clinical trial, and consequently a lack of patient care has cost sponsors billions.
We’re delighted to see the shift this year, and are fully behind the pledge to ensure this momentum continues.
The Future of Clinical Trials
The future of clinical trials exists in the sweet spot between patients and technology. That means we must avoid the temptation to go too far down the tech route so we lose the human connection, instead using technology to enhance the patient experience.
We’ve been developing digital products in-line with personalised patient services for many years. This highly personalised approach is necessary for rare diseases where the pool of patients is small, meaning retention is even more important. Many of these patients are also extremely vulnerable, so extra measures need to be taken into consideration. Until recently, this approach has been reserved for more specialised trials. Now we’re seeing the focus widen to patients taking part in a wide variety of studies worldwide.
There’s more we can do to alleviate the burden on patients and use data more effectively to monitor patient sentiment. As we begin to see restrictions lifted and the virus brought under control, we hope to see decentralised and hybrid trial models continue to develop in-line with a bigger focus on patient experience.
We will never be satisfied with going back to the trial conduct of the past. It’s time patients were treated with care and consideration. We need to think more innovatively about the way trials are designed and create more flexible solutions to meet the needs of individual patients. The clinical research industry needed to change, clinical trial conduct needed to improve, and we at mdgroup pledge to honour the lessons we’ve learnt and the developments we’ve made this year and beyond.
You too can take the #NoGoingBack pledge and keep moving our industry forward. Take the pledge here.