Using Connected Technology to Improve the Patient Experience

• Bree Burks, RN, MSN, VP of Strategy, Site Solutions, Veeva Systems

Offering new locations and better information exchange.

Connected technology continues to advance, with the market for the internet of things in healthcare valued at $100.41 billion in 2022 and projected to reach $495.47 billion by 2030. In the clinical trials arena, these technologies can ease information sharing, simplify study conduct, and ultimately improve patient experiences.

Bree Burks of Veeva: Aiming for a more modern trial experience for patients

“Core clinical trial stakeholders already use a range of technologies in day-to-day business activities and study management,” says Bree Burks, RN, MSN, Vice President of Strategy, Site Solutions, at Veeva.

“The site is a key stakeholder, acting as a hub where information exchange takes place. Yet, this exchange is a problem across the clinical trial ecosystem. Individual, specific challenges are being solved, but we need a scalable approach that breaks down silos. Connected technology can extend out from core operating systems and enable better information exchange across stakeholders.”

“Improved use of connected technology would give patients a more modern clinical trial experience that feels similar to their usual healthcare,” states Burks. “Routine healthcare typically involves a patient portal where it’s easy to find a provider, schedule an appointment, and review documents. This portal is a central part of the patient experience, reducing burden and easing the process of engaging with their healthcare provider.”

“We have not yet achieved this level of patient experience for clinical trials,” says Burks. “A patient clinical trial application would be a huge step to engage with patients across all activities involved in the trial, and throughout their lives. This consistent, simplified approach could encourage patients to participate in future trials, enabling them to benefit from clinical trials as a care option.”

“We are helping the industry to adopt a patient-focused approach to finding clinical trial participants,” notes Burks. “By creating a connected trial ecosystem that spans patients, sites, and sponsors, we can improve information sharing and collaboration, and ultimately, the patient experience.”

Adam Samson of Walgreens: “Transforming retail outlets to contribute to clinical research”

“As an industry, we are moving closer to having connected technology as the standard for clinical trials,” says Adam Samson, MS, PMP, CCRA, CCRC, CCDM, Head of Clinical Delivery Operations, RWE Clinical Trials, at Walgreens. “As recently as 10 years ago, everything was done on paper. Now, a vast array of technologies are available through vendors, with many sites implementing their own solutions. This can create a web of confusion around multiple systems, the training required (and how this is funded), and the need for clarity around whether the site or sponsor is responsible for the technology. We need to build consensus – just as we did when electronic data capture systems first emerged 20 or so years ago.”

“At Walgreens, we are looking to transform our community pharmacies to contribute to clinical research,” says Samson. “We have a broad geographic footprint, with nearly 9,000 locations, and 78% of the U.S. population living within 5 miles of a Walgreens. Many of our stores are in underserved areas, helping support efforts to increase trial participant diversity. By engaging with patients at the pharmacy, we can find out if they are interested in learning about clinical trials, carry out screening activities, and connect them with relevant studies.”

Improving the Patient Experience Through Connected Technology

Join Bree, Adam, and Natalie Morrow at ACRP 2023 [April 28 – May 1; Dallas, TX], where they will share case studies and real-world examples of how a connected trial ecosystem that spans patients, sites, and sponsors improves information sharing and collaboration, and ultimately, the patient experience. View complete schedule.

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“Since last June, we have been actively recruiting for studies, including interventional drug studies,” states Samson. “We can also partner with sponsors on more complex trials, extending their infrastructure and community engagement efforts by using our locations as trial sites. Appropriately staffed stores can offer simple outpatient procedures, dispense products, take blood, measure blood pressure, and collect clinician-reported outcomes. As we expand further into clinical trials, we aim to provide access to foundational clinical research training broadly across our organization and facilitate clinical trials as a career option within the pharmacy ecosystem.”

Samson concludes: “Overall, we see ourselves as part of the puzzle, bringing various capabilities to the site community, including access to diverse patient populations and qualified staff, with quality, compliance, and training at the forefront.”

Author: Jill Dawson