The last 12 months have clearly posed innumerable challenges and obstacles to the world as we know it. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have had to adapt quickly as the pandemic reached around the globe. While the term “unprecedented” has been overly used in recent times, it is safe to say that the combination of overstretched, access-restricted healthcare systems, national lockdowns, self-isolation from all non-essential activities and shifting attitudes to their own working setups has been unique for the industry. That being said, 2020 also demonstrated the power of collaboration towards a common goal and displayed the ingenuity and creativity of those same companies to overcome enormous difficulties.
Beneath that general introductory background, there is a more defined and related dichotomy that is worth exploring in regard to clinical trials. On the one hand, it could be argued that trials have never been more prevalent in our daily discourse and have never been better understood due to the countless hours of dedicated news coverage as vaccines hurtle through the clinical process like never before. On the other hand, it seems clear that the industry has actually seen a drop off in their ongoing clinical trial participation and completion due to the challenges thrown up by COVID-191.
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Without a doubt, the pandemic has made it difficult to physically engage with patient and healthcare professional (HCP) populations, regardless of therapeutic area or trial type, as attention and resources are redirected to where they are needed. There are the somewhat obvious logistical issues such as patients being unable to visit trial sites due to restricted access and similar precautions related to fighting the pandemic. Home visits, however, have been able to ensure trial adherence and monitoring2.
There are also expertise and resource issues, with trials struggling to retain the necessary trained professionals as healthcare systems worldwide retool in the short term to tackle the coronavirus. As with all scientific approaches however, reflection on the challenges encountered and applied efforts to address them in the near future mean that lessons are being learned and improvements are inevitable as clinical trials evolve post COVID3. Indeed, burgeoning technologies and approaches such as telemedicine and remote monitoring, which were in their infancy pre-pandemic, are now seeing their development expedited as the need to streamline trial administration ramps up. Similarly, reliance on in-home delivery of qualified research nursing services (such as PCM Trials), which are essential during a pandemic, arguably are poised to become more accepted and commonplace in clinical trials in the post-COVID world.
With that in mind, more fully integrated approaches to trial communication, engagement and enrollment will become even more important as the industry emerges from this pandemic and trials restart en masse. At Six Degrees, we offer a cohesive suite of services to identify the most compelling value propositions to patients and sites/HCPs, develop an effective name and identity for your trial, and execute awareness and recruitment campaigns that ensure you achieve your enrollment goals swiftly and cost-effectively. Our approach brings the proven power, tools and techniques of commercial brand marketing to your clinical trial and has been shown to accelerate trial recruitment to a significant extent (e.g., as much as 680%). As clinical trial management accelerates its migration to “the cloud”, it may be time to apply similar future-proofing to your clinical trial identity and associated patient information. For more information on how Six Degrees can accelerate your clinical trial, visit us here and learn how we can help you meet and exceed your trial recruitment goals.
- Ural, Arda. How COVID-19 has impacted the clinical trials sector. EY Parthenon. [Online]
11 August 2020.
- Lorusso D, Ray-Coquard I, Oaknin A, et al. ESMO Open. [Online] October 13, 2020.
- Drake, Nadia. How the Coronavirus Is Hampering Science. Scientific American. [Online]
March 10, 2020.