True Patient-Centric Trials Demand Full Industry Participation

Steve Whittaker, President, PharmaPM Consulting

All of those lofty goals and high aspirations associated with the term “patient centricity” won’t meet their potential unless all stakeholders come together to swap ideas, confront challenges, and share best practices, says Steve Whittaker, president of PharmaPM Consulting and moderator of the upcoming Quality Congress program co-sponsored by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and The Avoca Group.

To foster just that kind of innovative collaboration, Whittaker has helped to bring together a wide array of professionals to discuss ways to “add electricity to patient centricity.”

For example, while there are many exciting new technologies available or close to fruition with the potential to transform how trials get conducted, “how do we best weave in the technology providers?” Whittaker asks. The drive toward patient centricity will be fueled by getting everyone—representatives from pharma, contract research organizations, sites, patients, and technology experts—to join forces and articulate their own perspectives, he says.

Further, these aspirations are not called “patient-centric” without reason, Whittaker notes. “In all we do, patients must come first,” he says. That includes taking a hard look at telehealth and telemedicine in clinical trials, including a candid assessment of any potential shortcomings.

“Clinical trial designs are beginning to take into account the use of technology,” Whittaker notes, “but we have to take into account its impact on patients.” One example: virtual visits. “They can benefit patients, but they can also be a negative in terms of personal relationships” between patient and provider, he cautions.

Another example: eConsent. “It’s easy, and that’s a positive, but does it allow for patients to have follow-up questions?” Whittaker asks.

Like many others in the industry, Whittaker says he is excited about the prospect of more decentralized and virtual trials, because “they create new opportunities” for an expanded patient population. However, all voices must be heard in order for the patient-centric concept to get beyond the buzzword stage, he stresses.

At the ACRP-Avoca Quality Congress event, the organizations will share data from several recent ACRP and Avoca surveys that shine a light on industry trends, technologies to keep an eye on, the status of site education and implementation, and the concerns of and advantages to sites globally.

Author: Michael Causey