Coalition Aims to Improve Patient Care Through Community-Level Clinical Trials

Mark McLellan, MD, PhD, Director, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

Mayo Clinic and eight other health organizations have launched the Advancing Clinical Trials at the Point of Care Coalition (ACT@POC) to improve patient care by giving clinicians quality clinical research evidence in real time to better evaluate treatments and therapeutics. The ACT@POC coalition will bring together health systems, community-based care organizations, health research organizations, and a more diverse group of patients and providers to support the design of adaptable clinical trials and to develop digital health tools that make clinical trials simpler to conduct and more accessible to patients.

The complexity and cost of traditional clinical trials pose obstacles to patient and provider participation, identification of effective treatments for diseases, and acceleration of new clinical insights and knowledge. This coalition aims to drive implementation of large-scale clinical trials at the community level—in healthcare providers’ offices and care facilities where most people in the U.S. receive care.

The founding coalition members detail their collective commitment to this effort in an open letter.

Founding ACT@POC members are:

  • Mayo Clinic
  • Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
  • The MITRE Corp.
  • CURE Drug Repurposing Collaboratory (Critical Path Institute, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
  • Emory-Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • University of California, Irvine
  • Duke University Health System
  • Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University

“The vast majority of patients and their providers do not participate in clinical trials,” says Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and a cofounder of the ACT@POC. “Through its more accessible, cost-effective, and inclusive approach, the [coalition] will help the clinical trial enterprise answer priority research questions for COVID-19, prepare for future public health emergencies, and address common diseases where there is long-standing unmet medical need, including cardiovascular and neurological diseases.”

“The answers to many research questions can be found in the data and allow for engagement of patients in underserved communities who are often left out of traditional clinical research trials,” says Brian Anderson, MD, chief digital health physician for the MITRE Corp. “By working with clinicians who are the trusted caregivers of underserved communities, we hope to more fully engage and reach people through this collaboration to help yield new answers to many public health diseases.”

Edited by Gary Cramer