Forum Topic Clinical Trials
  • Conversation: Will A New Engagement Tool Finally Solve The Patient Recruitment Problem?

    • February 15, 2018 12:21 PM GMT
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      Will A New Engagement Tool Finally Solve The Patient Recruitment Problem?

      By Ed Miseta, Chief Editor, Clinical Leader
      Follow Him On Twitter @EdClinical
      Getting new treatments to patients is a long and costly endeavor. Most drugs take upward of eight years and billions of dollars to receive regulatory approval. One of the biggest problems sponsor companies face when trying to launch a Phase 3 trial is finding enough patients to take part in the study.
      Everyone seems to be aware of the problem, but few have been able to offer a solution. The number of clinical trials is increasing, but it seems the number of patients available to participate in them is not. Research has found that 80 percent of trials are delayed due to recruitment issues, and many others will never get off the ground. The problem will only get worse as the number of trials continues to increase.
      The underlying problems are well known to everyone in the industry. Many patients are not aware that clinical trials exist. Those patients who actually are aware of trials often have no idea where to find information on them or how to determine if they qualify for one. Physicians know their patients better than anyone, but most of them do not discuss trial options with them. Most physicians have also never served as an investigator on a trial, and those that do rarely return for a second one.
      We Need Better Tools
      I first learned about TrialReach back in August 2016. I interviewed Derek Rapp, president and CEO of JDRF, a global organization dedicated to funding research into type 1 diabetes. Rapp lamented the patient recruitment problem and how the industry simply did not have the right tools available to assist with recruitment. Something was needed to help patients find and enroll in trials, without the assistance of their physicians.
      Rapp noted physicians are not aware of trials, are not trained on making referrals, and do not have the resources to participate in one. Others are actually fearful of losing patients that are referred to a trial., a government database containing details on current trials, can be difficult for patients to navigate and understand. But if patients are not aware of trials and physicians are not referring them, how do we solve the recruitment problem?
      This is where TrialReach came into play. JDRF partnered with the technology provider to create Clinical Trials Connection, a tool patients could use to locate a clinical trial. By accessing the Clinical Trials Connection website and answering a few questions, patients are presented with a list of clinical trials for which they qualify. There are no ads. The graphics are simple and easy to understand. For patients, the process is simple and intuitive.
      Shortly after launch, JDRF had well over 100 individuals per day accessing the site. On its best day, more than 4,000 patients performed a search for a trial. For patients and the JDRF, there is also no cost to use the tool.
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