2020 On-site’s Industry and Scientific Advisory Board is continuing the important discussion around the patient experience and innovations in the ophthalmology industry. The group of ophthalmology and clinical research experts met in October for their Q4 meeting and discussed new opportunities and insights related to clinical trials and ophthalmology. In attendance was:
We also have included some important discussion points our team has had with board members outside of the formal meeting featuring Dr. Joseph Tauber, M.D. and Dr. Jeffrey S. Heier, MD.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one takeaway still remains at the top of the list for sponsors, CROs, and sites: prioritizing the patient experience in clinical trials. The topic of a five-star patient experience kept coming up in our discussions with the board, emphasizing the need to create an easy and enjoyable experience in order to retain qualified trial participants and not lose them to follow-ups.
“When the patient has a fantastic first experience with the trial, it makes them willing to then participate to larger lengths. We've had good success with giving patients and AGTC such a good first screening experience.” - Jessica Mays
“I love the idea of it actually being like this: rolling out the red carpet for patients who are going to be part of the clinical trial. I mean, that concept would resonate well with any sponsor.” - Jason Menzo
Another major discussion point this quarter revolved around the ability to pre-screen trial patients before enrolling them in a study. What benefits does this pose for sponsors and CROs? How can this work in tandem with what sites are already doing? Almost all of the board members had a unique perspective about the pre-screening process and how 2020 On-site might play a role.
Alexis of 2020 On-site mentioned how, through the use of our mobile vision clinics, we’re helping sites enroll more patients and assisting with the continuity of care. The board agreed this was a step in the right direction, with Dr. Adam Ramsey adding, “what you're doing is you're finding the patients, you're figuring out who it is that we need to target.”
Other board members added their valued opinions as well, noting how patient eligibility is a critical factor for a successful trial, especially in certain vision-related studies:
“Companies are going to be super desperate to get to every single patient that's eligible, no matter where they are. And it's probably more economical and certainly more practical for the patient for [2020 On-site] to bring what aspects you can to the patient, rather than get them on a plane every time.” - Jason Menzo
“If you can identify patients and that leads to enrollment in trials, that's a huge benefit to study sites and study sponsors. To me, the biggest advantage to sites like ours is if you can bring in patients that we normally don't. That may include going to areas far removed from study centers, areas that are of low socioeconomic status areas that typically are lacking in generalized health care maintenance. After identifying them, you can refer them to get in the clinical trial.” - Dr. Jeffrey S. Heier, MD
“Pre-screening can work for studies where the yield is not that high, and that's going to come up more in dry eye studies than perhaps anything else.” - Dr. Joseph Tauber, M.D
An ever-present concern in the clinical research industry is patient recruitment and enrollment. How can sponsors and CROs begin enrolling more qualified patients who engage throughout the entire trial? Fortunately, the experts on our board offered up their perspectives on how to address reaching the right patients at the right time. Jason Menzo sees value in our patient population, which is geographically diverse and represents key testing areas such as vision conditions and genetic backgrounds.
Other board members see the value in integrating pre-screening with patient recruitment, which can create efficiencies for sponsors, CROs, and sites:
“This is a way to do this that can help promote enrollment quicker. It’s rare that sites are maxed out on enrollment. And the more you enroll, the better it is for you as a site. I mean, both financially and cache-wise. All sites would be happy to take additional patients.” - Dr. Jeffrey S. Heier, MD
In addition to patient enrollment challenges, our team discussed retaining those patients throughout the entire trial. Dr. Adam Ramsey touched on the importance of personal connections with the prospects to make an impact: “If you can make that marketing email personal [for patient recruitment], all of a sudden I’m going to respond. A patient isn’t going to respond to generic blasted emails that have nothing to do with them, but if they have a personal connection, then you can actually get people to sign up.”
And Dr. Joseph Tauber, M.D made an excellent point about the relationships between the physician/practices and patients and how that plays a vital role in patient retention.
The Industry and Scientific Advisory Board meets again in Q1 2022. Have a question or topic you’d like the group to cover next time? Submit your ideas here.