As the spring conference season comes to an end, we’re reflecting on what we learned and identifying practical ways we can support clinical researchers, healthcare providers, and patients. Because providers can’t grow at the same pace as the aging patient population who needs care, there is a significant need for more efficient treatments and clinical trials.
Check out our Q&A with Jessica Mays, Vice President of Business Development & Partnerships, for insights into these top challenges and the potential solution that she uncovered during her cross-country conference tour.
How do conferences impact the future of 20/20 Onsite?
Conferences are essential to identifying what’s working and what can be improved in the ophthalmology field. New innovators like us can discuss ideas with experienced professionals. That enables us to develop better solutions, so we can deliver value to each and every one of our clients.
As 20/20 Onsite continues to grow, these conversations are pivotal to identifying how we can continue to support ophthalmologists, improve care for patients, and develop our services. As the person who's leading our strategy in the market, I want to hear from the people who are experiencing these challenges every day to find out what they need and what’s important to them.
Jessica Mays with Raj Agrawal, MD, MS, CEO and President of Retina Global and 20/20 Onsite Industry and Advisory Board Member, at Clinical Trials at the Summit.
What are the biggest topics of conversation in ophthalmology right now?
Right now, there is a growing need for treatment of eye diseases like Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). However, providers are overburdened.
The Great Resignation has left practices shorthanded, and there are roughly 70 million people in the Baby Boomer generation who are susceptible to these diseases. Meanwhile, there are fewer than 18,000 retina specialists in the United States. As a result, thought leaders are looking for ways to reduce the burden on physicians while also improving patient care.
Through hybrid and decentralized clinical trials, sponsors and CROs may be able to expand the treatment options, but there is a lot of uncertainty around these kinds of trials because FDA regulations can make them difficult. The most brilliant minds can get together and devise a plan, but if for some reason their plan doesn't meet data requirements for the FDA, then they're back to the drawing board.
Thought leaders are also seeking to identify which diseases are most in need of new or improved treatments. One treatment issue that comes up often is the burden of injection treatments on patients. Many of the approved medicines for AMD or DME require a monthly injection. That process is very cumbersome for both the patient and the retina specialist.
A potential solution is empowering other types of care providers to do injections. However, sponsors and people in the clinical trial industry are really focused on identifying new treatment options outside of injections.
Ultimately, thought leaders are taking a two-prong approach. First, they’re looking to offload tasks to other professionals. Secondly, they’re looking for new treatment methods. 20/20 On-site can support these efforts by reducing the burden on the patients and supporting care providers, particularly as new treatments are tested.
Check out our recap of "The Future of Clinical Research Sites" for additional insights into current challenges and potential solutions.
Adam Merola, Sr. Manager, Clinical Program Operations, and Albi Santiago, Sr. Manager, Fleet Operations, at SCRS Diversity Site Solutions Summit.
What stood out to you as the most compelling method to support overburdened retina specialists?
As we work to deliver better patient care and alleviate the burden on current providers, one of the most compelling topics I've heard recently was during Clinical Trials at the Summit where we discussed updating clinical trial protocols to accommodate hybrid or decentralized trials. Current regulations make hybrid and decentralized trials burdensome, so updating those protocols could offer the solution we need to conduct these trials more efficiently.
In our recent interview with Dr. Peter Kaiser, a member of 20/20 Onsite’s Industry and Scientific Advisory Board, he explained that decentralized clinical trials are essential to reach many patients, particularly those for whom travel to sites is burdensome.
“It’s a game-changer to be able to go to them instead of making them come to us. During the pandemic, this was particularly true because many patients were scared to visit their doctor's office. [20/20 Onsite’s Mobile Vision Clinic] is contained and can be sterilized in between patients. That really helps keep patients in clinical studies and ensures they get the treatment we want.”
It’s probably no coincidence that Dr. Peter Kaiser is a co-chair of the Clinical Trials at the Summit conference where this topic was mentioned often. Clearly, there has been a lot of talk about the need to reduce patient and physician burdens, and one of the most practical solutions to that may be to write the protocols differently so that hybrid trials are an option.
To learn more about how to reduce the patient burden, check out Facing Enrollment Challenges? Take Control with On-site Mobile Care.
How is 20/20 Onsite supporting patients and physicians right now?
With our fleet of Mobile Visions Clinics, we provide mobile access to vision care. Our state-of-the-art clinics are staffed with highly qualified and diverse individuals who can provide anything from routine optometry services to advanced assessments on clinical trials.
Additionally, our clinics are able to be tailored to the needs of almost any project. Last year we covered the entire nation for eye exams on various projects. We're able to go wherever we’re needed, whenever we’re needed.
How can thought leaders, sponsors, and CROs connect with 20/20 Onsite?
If 20/20 Onsite’s efforts to alleviate the burden on patients and physicians in clinical trials resonate with you in any way, they should book a meeting with me. We can meet up in person or at the next conference. Whether they’re looking to partner with us or simply ask questions, our team is constantly looking to connect with people in the ophthalmic research industry.
The more people that are talking about this, the more likely we are to drive change in the industry, making things easier and more accessible for patients.
To learn more about 20/20 Onsite strategies to reduce clinical trial barriers or set a time to chat, reach out to us.