What Does “Patient Centricity” Mean for Clinical Trials?

by | Jun 12, 2024 | Uncategorized

Traditionally, clinical studies were designed and executed with little direct consideration for or involvement with the human subjects recruited to participate in them. Increasingly, sponsors of clinical studies are recognizing the value of more active participation of and partnership with human participants in these trials. In this piece, we explore the ways in which a deeper patient involvement enhances clinical studies and the value that it provides.

Uncovering Patient Insights

Making trials more patient-centric starts with conducting quality insight-mining research with the target patients for the trial. The purpose of this insight mining is to understand who these patients are as people, particularly what motivates them and what challenges they face as a result of their medical condition relative to family, friends, lifestyle and work. A good understanding of the target patients enables trial sponsors to optimize not only trial protocol but also tailor trial communications to be relevant and compelling to these people. This is especially critical for ensuring diversity goals are met.

Improving Patient Engagement

On the basis of the patient insights discovered in #1, trial sponsors and sites can enhance patient engagement with the trial by seeking their input regarding study endpoints that are meaningful to them, addressing their emotional and social needs—in addition to functional needs—and including patient-reported outcomes that capture the impact of both disease and treatment from their perspective and in their words.

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Creating a Compelling Trial Brand and Communications

Good patient insights, and a solid brand strategy based in those insights, helps trial sponsors create more appealing branding and communications. Rather than having the science be the sole driver of the trial brand (which is only helpful for clinicians and investors), focusing a bit more on the patients the trial is seeking to recruit, through a meaningful and approachable name, logo and communications campaign is a better way to ensure enrollment goals are met on (or even ahead of) schedule. After all, patient enrollment often is the most vexing challenge facing trial managers. At Six Degrees, we have seen patient enrollment increase sixfold by following this approach.

Taking Patient Engagement Beyond the Trial

Patient-centric trials extend engagement beyond the end of the trial itself and involve sharing trial results with the participants in a comprehensible fashion, acknowledging the value of their participation in the trial and sharing potential implications and future opportunities. Considering the amount of time and energy patients spend on the trial, this is important “closing-the-loop” activity that can turn participants into net-promoters of future trials.

In closing, patient centricity in clinical trials comes down to treating patients more like partners in the medical research process by designing studies that are more tailored to the participants, more inclusive and that more effectively meet their needs and expectations. Although patient-centric trials involve a bit more planning and extra work, the value of the additional effort bears fruit in a variety of ways:

  1. Better adherence to study protocols by more motivated and educated participants
  2. Improved data quality through more comprehensive and accurate reporting by engaged patients
  3. Accelerated enrollment and retention through targeted and meaningful branding and communications
  4. Broader applicability by ensuring appropriate representation of subgroups of patients

For more information on how a patient-centric approach can benefit your clinical trial, contact Six Degrees today.

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Frank Schab
An experienced marketing and branding strategist, Frank has been helping clients optimize the value of their brands through insightful analysis and effective strategy for more than three decades. Along with holding positions at General Motors and Pfizer, Frank served as a Managing Partner at Interbrand New York and VP of Global Brand Research at Opinion Research Corporation before co-founding Six Degrees. His brand-building work in various sectors including hospitality, medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive and technology has taken him to 17 countries on four continents. Frank holds a doctorate in psychology from Yale University and speaks fluent German.

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