Patient recruitment and retention in clinical trials has long been an issue for pharma companies. Recruitment rates, even for oncology trials, remain mired in the low single digits. This results in many trials being delayed and even canceled.
One recent advancement that could help with both recruitment and retention is virtual trials. This concept, which allows patients to participate in trials without the disruption of having to make regular visits to a clinic, may be the key to better engaging patients by eliminating trial burdens. Although the concept has been around for years, it is still met with skepticism. In fact, many technologically advanced pharma companies have yet to venture into this arena.
Janssen is one company moving forward with virtual trials and taking studies to the patient. Darren Weston, VP, integrated data analytics and reporting, and Janssen Clinical Innovation (JCI) for Janssen, notes the company has a team focused on the investigator and patient insights and experience. After hearing feedback from more than 1,700 patients, one point was heard loud and clear: Patients wanted to participate in trials that were more integrated into their personal lives.
“We knew we had to conduct trials differently,” says Weston. “That feedback spawned the movement toward virtual trials. Although patients have been requesting this type of trial for some time, the emergence of medical-grade wearable devices and supporting technologies has made virtual trials even more feasible. As those technologies continue to advance, we should see more companies initiating these trials.”
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