By Gabriela Feldberg, Covance

Published: 3 January 2018

What issues do patients cite as barriers to clinical study participation? How far are they willing to travel to participate in a study and how much more willing are they to participate knowing that their physician is aware of the study?

We asked these questions – and more – to group of 135,000 people who opted in to the LabCorp database to receive more information about Covance clinical studies. More than 2,500 responded to our survey, providing our team with unique insights to better understand the patient mindset and design more effective recruitment strategies.

Next, to see if our colleagues in the drug development industry could surmise our participants’ aggregate answers from this survey, we delivered a short pop quiz. Any attendees who stopped by our booth at the 2017 Drug Information Association annual meeting (DIA), had a chance to take the quiz and see how they fared.

While the survey sent to people who opted in through LabCorp covered a wide range of topics, we focused on five questions in our quiz for industry partners. With a multiple-choice format, they were asked:

What is the MOST significant issue keeping patients from participating in clinical studies?

On average, what is the MAXIMUM distance a potential participant would be willing to travel in order to participate in a study?

What percentage of potential study participants proactively researched and/or discussed a clinical study with a professional, but did not participate?

What percentage of potential study participants are MUCH MORE WILLING to participate knowing that their physician is aware of the study?

What percentage of potential study participants are VERY WILLING to wear a mobile device (Fitbit®, watch/wearable) outside of standard study visits to support the study experience?

So, how well did our industry peers do? Drum roll please …  Of the nearly 100 booth visitors that took our survey, most participants answered one or two correctly out of the five questions. For me, it was not really about the score itself but rather the underlying message that was revealed: our industry needs to elevate the importance of patient centricity. Are we truly embedding the viewpoint of the patient as we design our protocols? Are we considering how we are going to get our desired study endpoints and what we can do for the patient to make the overall journey easier?

As a follow-up to the quiz, there was significant discussion about how to gain a better understanding of patient views related to clinical study participation and the downstream impact for everyone involved. I heard one of my colleagues tell the story of how they supported a study partner by using patient insights to help rally a group of investigators that was otherwise extremely hesitant to sign up for a rare disease trial. While that study is still in progress, it provided firsthand evidence of how these data can have a direct influence on optimizing a study.

I think that while we would all agree that putting the patient at the center of what we do can be a daunting and complex undertaking, it is no longer a “nice to have” feature, but a must for the industry as a whole. Our quickly changing and ever-shrinking world has provided an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to put the patient at the center of all drug development efforts and I, for one, am excited to see Covance be a driving force in this effort.

Would you like to test out your patient centricity IQ? Take the same five-question, multiple-choice quiz that was given to attendees at DIA 2017 and see how well you align with the thinking of potential study participants.