The CRO's role in advancing patient centricity

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

CROs and sponsors can work together to improve the clinical trial experience for patients. (Image: iStock/chaiyon021)
CROs and sponsors can work together to improve the clinical trial experience for patients. (Image: iStock/chaiyon021)
There are several opportunities for contract research organizations (CROs) to advance patient centricity and many are looking to do so over the next three years, according to a report.

The report, recently published​ by the Life Science Strategy Group, LLC (LSSG), found sponsors are increasingly adopting patient-centric strategies – and those who haven’t yet, are discussing implementation.

Attitude toward adopting and implementing a patient-centric approach. (Image: LSSG)
Attitude toward adopting and implementing a patient-centric approach. (Image: LSSG)

Pharma wants to use patient-centric strategies not only to try and improve the development process, but to also connect better with the public/clinical trial community to shift opinions that pharma is just in it for the money​,” Jon Meyer, MSc, MBA, founder and principal consultant at LSSG told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.

Up to 87% of survey respondents are discussing patient-centric approaches to clinical development and half expect to implement such approaches within the next 1 to 3 years, according to the report.

Anticipation of implementing patient-centric approaches for clinical development. (Image: LSSG)
Anticipation of implementing patient-centric approaches for clinical development. (Image: LSSG)

As Meyer explained, some of these approaches include adaptive-design clinical trials, collecting patient feedback after the study​, developing patient-focused applications, and facilitating community outreach and discussions – all of which have begun making inroads​ in the industry as various stakeholders, including patients themselves​, push for such initiatives.

However, “other factors including budgets and timelines can take equal priority​,” Meyer added.

Working together for the patient

According to the report, the majority of respondents agree that sponsors and CROs should work together ​on most responsibilities throughout a trial.

Sponsors should be more responsible for engaging with patient advocacy groups, facilitating community outreach, and implementing adaptive-design trials,” ​Meyer explained, adding that CROs should focus on collecting patient feedback and the logistics of running the trials.

Primary responsibility of necessary activities and thought leadership. (Image: LSSG)
Primary responsibility of necessary activities and thought leadership. (Image: LSSG)

Though Meyer explained, there are several opportunities for CROs as pharma implements patient-centric strategies. “CROs can focus efforts on improving their ability to make trial participation easier for patients​,” he said. “That’s the big one​.”

According to Meyer, CROs are also uniquely positioned to be a liaison between sponsors and patients.

Having relationships with enabling technologies and /or technology companies can also be a differentiator for CROs, he said.

Ultimately, what this research shows is that pharma is actively and increasingly focusing on the patient as a means to overcome challenging patient recruitment in clinical trials​,” said Meyer – as it becomes increasingly hard to enroll and complete trials on time.

An improved trial experience can help with study participation, trial enrollment and also improve public opinions about pharma,” ​he added. “CROs can help support pharma in these efforts by interfacing with both parties and becoming more versed in technologies/strategies to support patient-centric efforts​.”

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