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[WEBINAR RECAP] "The Future of Clinical Research Sites: A 2022 Market Analysis of Where Sites Are Today"

May 17, 2022 | By 20/20 Onsite
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COVID-19 has forever altered the future of clinical research, and WCG Clinical suggests that clinical research sites have felt the impact most of all. In an effort to support high-quality clinical trials, WCG Clinical is offering a series of educational webinars exploring the current challenges in the industry and potential paths forward. 

Elizabeth Alicakos, Senior Operations & Logistics Manager and Licensed Dispensing Optician at 20/20 Onsite, attended this webinar on behalf of our Life Sciences team. In this blog, we recap the first session in this new webinar series examining the future of clinical research sites, and we demonstrate how 20/20 Onsite’s clinical program can offer solutions to the industry’s top challenges. 

Here are three of our biggest takeaways from the webinar.

Clinical trial enrollment is on the decline

When discussing the challenges of clinical trials, enrollment is always a key topic, and this webinar was no different. Recruiting and retaining patients was a challenge before COVID-19, and it has only become more challenging since. Presenters Sandy Smith, Senior Vice President, Clinical Solutions and Strategic Partnering at WCG and Suzanne Caruso, Senior Vice President, Insights and Analytics at WCG, proposed this solution to overcome enrollment challenges: “We need to start going to where the patients are.” 

Travel is one of the most significant barriers to patient recruitment and retention because it impacts the accessibility of clinical trials, the willingness of patients to participate and the patient experience during trials. Sponsors can alleviate these logistical barriers simply through bringing the clinical site directly to patients with 20/20 Onsite’s Mobile Vision Clinics.

View our infographic to learn more about the impact of mobile clinical trial sites on patient experience

Increasing the number of clinical trial sites is a top concern

Patient enrollment is not the only issue impacting clinical trial success rates. An equally pressing issue is a massive shortage of clinical trial sites. Many clinical trial sites are likely to be working through their pandemic backlog for quite some time. In fact, a single clinical trial site could have up to 200 trials waiting in the wings, as stated by WCG. 

Because sites are already stretched thin, they are even more stringent about what clinical trials they will take on in the future. Staffing challenges and major backlogs of clinical trials have forced many sites to turn down upcoming clinical trials. Read our previous article to see how on-site mobile care can reduce the impact of staffing shortages on clinical trial success.

As a result, one of the most pressing questions the 20/20 Onsite team is considering as we look to the future of clinical trials is this: what would it take to increase the capacity and availability at clinical trial sites in order to meet enrollment goals? Improving decentralization of clinical trials is one possible method for clearing up the backlog of clinical trials. 

Very few clinical trials are actually decentralized

Although decentralized clinical trials have grown more common over the years, they remain in the minority. With few clinical trials actually going the decentralized route, and a rapidly growing need for clinical trial sites, there is now a major opportunity for sponsors to pursue decentralized trials and sites to expand their decentralized capabilities. 

In a recent infographic, we showcased the benefits of decentralized clinical trials. Most notably, decentralized trials can save up to six months on data collection and analysis. Thus, decentralized clinical trials can finish three times faster than traditional clinical trials. Through expanded technology adoption, streamlining of protocols and introduction of mobile sites, clinical trials can save time–while still collecting strong data.

Addressing clinical trial challenges 

Sponsors and clinical trial sites are at the edge of something important, not just in eyecare, but in healthcare overall.

There is no denying that there are a number of challenges impacting the clinical trial space that must be addressed in order to deliver high-quality treatments to patients, but these challenges also present a massive opportunity to sponsors and clinical trial sites. There is no better time than now for sponsors and sites to leverage decentralized clinical trials and resources like 20/20 Onsite’s Mobile Vision Clinics. 

Improving accessibility to clinical trials and diversifying patient pools has long been a goal for clinical studies. However, countless communities have no means of traveling to a clinical trial site or are met with undue burden to receive care. Instead of making patients come to us, we can expand access to care in underserved communities while addressing the shortage of clinical trial sites. 

Clinical trial sites are limited and patient enrollment remains tough, but 20/20 Onsite’s mobile clinical sites are convenient for both patients and sponsors. Contact us to be part of the future of clinical trials.


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