The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, will combine Almac Clinical Technologies’ interactive voice and web response technology (IXRS) with Exco’s electronic patient management and retention-focused suite of services.
UK-based Exco uses short message service (SMS) texting, emails and telephone calls to provide patients with what it describes as an ‘electronic tap on the shoulder’ and claims its approach has cut withdrawal by around 40 per cent in previous projects.
The partnership continues the pattern of investment Almac has made in its clinical trial offering which, most recently, saw it install high-tech presses for the production of drug ‘wallets’ used in studies at its facility in Craigavon, Northern Ireland.
The tie-up also fits with the wider trend among contract research organisations (CROs) that has seen innovative approaches to patient retention take centre stage.
In recent weeks, for example, US CRO PPD launched an online information resource designed to both educate study participants about their illnesses and foster ongoing communications with physicians and those operating trials.
At the time Mike Wilkinson, executive vice president and chief information officer for PPD said: "The loss of patients during a trial can lead to increased costs and delay the trial's completion.
“PPD PatientView empowers patients by enabling better communication with the study team, better connectivity with study activities and better access to information about their individual disease."
Similarly, earlier this month, UK-based Synexus told Outsourcing-pharma.com it has started to hold ‘educational lunches’ for study patients as a means of both providing information and boosting retention rates.
More recently, GlobalCare cited improved patient retention as the key drivers of its expansion across Latin America.
These developments, coupled with the findings of several recent surveys, suggest that CROs increasingly see long-term retention as being as important a part of a clinical offering as speedy recruitment.