Earlier this month, I presented BBK’s approach to advocacy outreach and engagement for patient recruitment at the inaugural Patients as Partners conference in Philadelphia, Penn., hosted by The Conference Forum. Patients as Partners examined how we engage with patients across the entire clinical trial continuum, including early research, patient-centric protocol design, recruitment, retention, and communicating results with patients acting as ambassadors and educators. Following the conference, I had an opportunity to interview Valerie Bowling, executive director at The Conference Forum. Here is what she had to say…
Please tell us how and why the Patients as Partners conference formed.
At our Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials event, our keynote, Greg Simon, who at the time directed policy at Pfizer, asked our audience of clinical development leaders when they last thanked their patients for being in a clinical trial. The audience response was silence. This prompted us to seek a better understanding of the patient journey in a clinical trial. Through this experience, we knew we had to launch an event with a focus on the patient as a customer and partner in the clinical trial process.
What can clinical trial sponsors gain from attending a conference like this?
Sponsors can learn about the latest strategies, technologies, and policies to vastly improve the patient experience in clinical trials from colleagues, patients, patient advocacy organizations, sites, FDA, and service companies. Sponsors have the opportunity to hear the experience of other industries in transforming service to customers, i.e., the restaurant business. How do top-performing restaurants maintain technical and service components to maintain top positioning with Zagat?
The agenda for the conference was full of sessions lead by advocacy organizations. What has been the overall sentiment of advocacy organizations participating in a conference like this for the pharmaceutical industry?
They are so welcoming and happy to extend themselves as a partner in the journey of advancing drug development for patients.
What were you most excited about for the conference this year?
I was most excited to see the interactions and the sharing of ideas between the key stakeholders, especially the patients, and to note what actions we will create from this event. I was also excited to hear Ken Getz’s state of the industry address on how we are doing as an industry in engaging patients. I especially enjoyed all the case studies and industry guidance on patient engagement.
See picture of Valerie Bowling and Ken Getz, founder, Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation, at the Patients as Partners event above. To read Aaron's insights on engaging advocacy groups for patient recruitment, read his related blog here.