From efforts to improve DEI to the expansion of tech-engagement platforms and enrollment ecosystems, 2023 was a dynamic year for clinical trial patient recruitment and engagement. But what’s in store for 2024? We asked five of our industry experts to weigh in with their predictions.
Michael Johnson Senior Director, Engagement Services
Two thousand and twenty-four will be about options. From a patient reimbursement/payment perspective, the days of providing just one method are over. Patients and caregivers want solutions to meet their individual needs and preferences. We’ll see industry more readily embrace a customized approach that features a range of reimbursement/payment solutions, including virtual cards, direct deposit, reloadable debit cards as well as the integration of phone wallets.
BBK’s TCN™ Card is one such example of a solution that provides patients with the flexibility to choose their preferred method. One patient in a trial can choose a virtual card, while another patient can choose direct deposit. It’s all centralized through a patient platform, TCN®Engage, that engages patients in the clinical trial experience and empowers them with solutions that enhance their participation.
We will also see more options available through the integration of travel and reimbursement/payment programs, which will help sponsors respond to diverse patient needs. For instance, one patient in a particular study may live close to the study site and just require mileage reimbursement, while another patient may live farther away and need to be supported with a range of travel services. This year we will see continued advancements in how we, as an industry, support each unique patient pathway.
Alexia Medici Director of Accounts
I expect enabling technologies and strategic partnerships to play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape for 2024.
While keeping people at the forefront of discussions, I anticipate a rise in innovative digital platforms that streamline patient recruitment, boost engagement and enhance data integrations. The hope and goal would be to utilize technology and multi-organizational partnerships to make clinical trials more accessible and efficient – ultimately improving patient outcomes. Additionally, collaborations between tech-solution companies, pharma organizations, and healthcare providers will become the backbone of this digital revolution, driving unprecedented advancements in the industry.
Amanda Moody Senior Director, Global Strategy
I predict we will see a stronger focus on the patient experience. More and more sponsors are embracing the notion that each patient experience is different and a “one size fits all” approach is not the answer. Each patient requires varying types and levels of support, and sponsors will focus on finding solutions that provide the most positive experiences based on individual needs, in an easy-to-implement fashion. In turn, this will help studies stand out with patients and sites in the highly competitive clinical research world.
I also anticipate a continued shift towards program-level planning and implementation by making recruitment and engagement part of the discussion as early as protocol development or program planning. This may include:
Including the patient voice into the protocol design, making it easier for patients to participate.
Leveraging data-driven tools regarding patient diagnostic patterns to inform site identification.
Gathering and leveraging the “site voice” as early as feasibility and site identification to inform the development of programs that capture their insight and expertise.
Creating time, effort and cost efficiencies across program and study teams.
Dena Raffa Senior Director, TCN Technologies
I think we’ll see a shift to more fluid, seamless software that elevates the patient experience. We’ll see workflows that enhance user interaction for a high-impact, personalized experience. There will be more thoughtful UX design that encourages users to engage at every stage of the journey, ensuring patients access to support services that facilitate and enhance their clinical trial experience. At BBK, when we develop a new feature or optimize a workflow, we always evaluate the end-user experience and ask how we can make it more seamless and intuitive. In my experience, bad technology is worse than a manual process, so I am excited to see more companies invest in user-friendly technology — with options for scalability and customization — to enhance patient recruitment and engagement efforts.
I also predict we’ll see greater collaboration among different technology platforms — a single platform or portal that can be leveraged by multiple vendors. Bringing together different technology to streamline the experience and prioritize customization will boost overall performance. Lastly, I think we’ll see a stronger focus on big data analytics, which collects, examines and analyzes data across protocols to discover trends, insights and patterns that can help sponsors make better decisions.
André Briola Vice President, Business Development
As we head into 2024, continued advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data analytics, have the potential to play a significant role in optimizing the patient recruitment processes. Predictive modeling and data-driven approaches may be utilized increasingly to identify eligible participants more efficiently.
I expect to see increased collaboration among stakeholders, including industry, academia, regulatory bodies and patient advocacy groups, to contribute to more streamlined and efficient patient recruitment processes.
Ongoing efforts to modernize and streamline regulatory processes may have implications for the speed and efficiency of patient recruitment. Regulatory changes that support innovative trial designs and approaches could positively impact the landscape.
Efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion in clinical trials are likely to persist. Researchers and sponsors will continue to work on strategies to ensure a more representative participant population that address historical disparities in trial enrollment.
The clinical trial landscape is dynamic, and the specific developments in 2024 will depend on various factors, including technological advancements, regulatory changes and the outcomes of ongoing research initiatives. Stakeholders should be adaptable to changes in order to optimize patient recruitment efforts and enhance the overall efficiency of their clinical trials.
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