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The Real Cost of Using a Mobile Clinic for Your Phase 1 Clinical Trial

December 10, 2021 | By 20/20 Onsite
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What is a mobile clinic?

A mobile clinic is a vehicle that travels to patients in different communities to provide healthcare services. With mobile clinics, providers can reach the country’s most vulnerable populations, with one study suggesting more than half of their mobile clients are women (55%) and racial/ethnic minorities (59%). There are vast benefits for leveraging mobile clinics for your starting with your phase 1 clinical trial including reaching more diverse patient groups and creating a more patient-first experience. 

What about a mobile vision clinic? 

Similar to other mobile healthcare units, 2020 On-site’s mobile vision clinic provides mobile eye care services to patients across the country. If you have a clinical trial that requires eye exams, a mobile vision clinic can be a great option to reduce barriers to care and improve the patient experience because our vehicles can go directly on-site. 

Our mobile vision clinic, making a pitstop at Quail Creek, Utah. 

Request a special invitation to take a virtual tour of our mobile vision clinic here

How much does it cost to use a specialty mobile vision clinic? 

Just like any other clinical trial cost, the cost of using a mobile vision clinic depends on a variety of factors. Things such as study size, locations, number of clinical sites, and specific tests or procedures needed per protocol can impact the cost of using a mobile vision clinic. The cost of a single patient assessment can be anywhere from $150 to $1500 depending on the complexity of the assessment and the staff required to perform it.

Additional benefits of working with 2020 On-site's mobile vision clinic:

  • Personnel: Each mobile vision clinic comes with a pre-screened, licensed optometrist and experienced customer success team member who have contributed to our consistently excellent 95% or higher Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  • Reach: We travel the country to where your patients need us — at their home, at your practice, or at another exam site.  
  • Technology and equipment: Our mobile vision clinics come with standard optometry exam equipment and an Emmes-certified doctor’s exam lane. They can also be completely customized with specialty equipment based on your study needs such as MAIA Microperimetry, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), Electronic Visual Acuity (EVA), and Advanced Vision and Optometric Tests (AVOT).
  • Pre-screening: We can pre-screen patients before they reach the clinical site to ensure they are qualified to participate and positively impact costs like enrollment speed and screen failures. 

Overall, getting a mobile vision clinic to your research site is a straightforward process — like any other vendor — once you start the conversation with our team.  

Are mobile vision clinics worth it? 

The average cost of phase 1 clinical trials is $4 million. With that investment already on the line, you may ask yourself, “Is having a mobile vision clinic for my clinical trial worth it?” 

Among the many benefits of using a mobile clinic for a decentralized approach to your clinical trial, patient recruitment and retention are at the top of the list. Take a look at the statistics below for a clearer picture of some of the existing barriers in clinical trials and continue reading to learn how our mobile vision clinics can help combat them. 

  • Geography and the distance to the clinical site was the main barrier to trial participation for 60% of patients. (Source)
  • Studies have shown that 80% of trials are delayed by at least a month, causing potential losses of approximately $600,000 (and potentially as high as $8 million) per day. (Source)
  • On average, it costs $6,533 to recruit one patient to a clinical study. (Source)
  • The cost of eligibility screening ranged by study phase from $129.15 to $336.48 per enrolled patient. The estimated annual cost of screening was more than $90,000. (Source)
  • The average cost to recruit a new patient if one is lost due to non-compliance is $19,533. (Source)
  • 38% of clinical trial patients who dropped out believed their visits to be stressful. (Source)

Mobile vision clinics can help reach more diverse communities and enroll more qualified patients. 

When you partner with 2020 On-site and use our mobile vision clinics, we drastically cut the effort it takes to reach a diverse patient pool and screen patients before they get to the research site. 

Because we provide mobile eye exams on wheels, we can travel anywhere in the continental United States to provide more accessible, high-quality testing to patients who may not otherwise have been able to participate in your study. In fact, in 2021, our team traveled over 75,000 miles throughout 48 states to see hundreds of patients of all ages on behalf of Sponsors and CROs. What used to be a burdensome process for patients is now more convenient, with patients traveling an average of only 12.36 miles for their appointment with us — a drastic improvement from most clinical trials where the average distance traveled is 41.2 miles

Another benefit of the 2020 On-site experience for Sponsors and CROs includes pre-screening patients to ensure they are the right fit for your study. Rather than acting as a replacement for a clinical trial site, we can provide the necessary inclusion and exclusion criteria through imaging and other testing before moving a patient forward. That means you have the peace of mind knowing the patients enrolled in your trial are qualified by our team before they get to your site. 

Mobile vision clinics can improve the overall experience and patient retention. 

One study estimated clinics and health systems lose over $150,000 per provider, per year as a result of no-shows — something you don’t want impacting the results of your study. According to the analysis, the average patient no-show rate is almost 19% (optometry specifically is estimated at 25%), and when you calculate that against the daily number of appointments and average appointment value, adds up to over $150,000 in lost investment annually.  

However, our team has an extremely successful appointment rate with only about 10% no-shows or late cancellations. This can be attributed to our mobile vision clinics reducing travel times for patients and increasing convenience by bringing the appointments directly to them. 

When you partner with us for your clinical trial, patients no longer have to depend on loved ones to take time out of their day to take them to a visit, especially if they are suffering from a condition that impacts their eyesight. They are also more likely to attend critical follow-up exams because they don’t need to take time off of work or take time from their busy schedules to travel to city centers or research sites — the study comes to them.  

Onboard, the patient experience is even more enjoyable. Our doctors and staff can spend more time with each patient to learn about their background, lifestyle, and condition. We are also able to offer breaks to rest or to recharge between exams. It’s no wonder 2020 On-site has maintained a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of at least 95% over the years for both our routine optometry side of the business and our clinical program services — when patients come aboard, they love the experience with our doctors and staff, and appreciate the fact that we go the extra mile to deliver high-quality care when they need it. 

Our team has also suggested small improvements to clinical protocols based on patient feedback that were then adopted more widely across sites. For example, we switched the order in which testing is conducted so the most intense exam was done first. We also implemented a patient suggestion to install neon tape to the aisle so other patients with low vision can move around easier and safer on board the clinic. While they may seem small, these changes drastically improved the patient experience, reducing the risk of fatigue or drop-outs. 

 "Thank you all for everything you do to make things easier for our patients! They loved the experience."

Mobile vision clinics can relieve the burden on your site staff and create more efficient processes. 

During the study activation process, you dedicate substantial time and budget to selecting site personnel and training in order to properly screen potential study participants. With support from the 2020 On-site team, we can act as an extension of this team in order to offset screen failures and drop-outs. 

When we conduct pre-screen imaging and testing, we examine all inclusion criteria put forth by your protocols — age, gender, medical history, and so on. With this stopgap, the risk of moving any ineligible patients (the most common cause of screen failures) forward in your study is reduced. Additionally, because patients are pre-screened with our team, your study has a higher-quality patient pool, which also reduces the costs to the sites of screen failures. 

By the time patients reach your research site, they have already been exposed to some level of testing with our team. Therefore, if the exam involves any particular focus or is lengthly, the patient has some expectations of the intensity before starting since they experienced it onboard our mobile vision clinic first. This relieves some burden placed on your team since patients are primed, more relaxed, and more comfortable in the exam environment. This pre-exposure to testing also reduces the risk of drop-outs or refusal to participate because participants are already aware of the study details, its duration, and potential risks. 

See if our mobile vision clinics are right for your trial. 

If you have an upcoming clinical trial that requires eye exams, 2020 On-site’s clinical program services may be a great option. Get in touch with us today so we can get the conversation started. 


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