Firma Clinical Research provides home health care for clinical trial patients – a service that has been more frequently requested, as sponsors look to take a more patient-centric approach to clinical trials, said the company’s COO, Michael Keens.
In line with this, the company recently collaborated with The Myositis Association (TMA) on a project to incorporate the ‘lived experience’ of patients into training materials for study investigators and nurses.
“These individuals are going into [patient’s] homes, in many cases, over long periods of time. So, the more that they know about the condition that this person suffers from, the better the visit will be,” said Keens.
Keens described the program changes as “an opportunity to have the visit be better supported and a better experience for patients.”
The company has since ‘firmed up’ its blueprint to implement the program in other therapeutic areas, developing the survey tools and supplemental training structure.
A better experience
In developing the program, Firma and TMA asked patients: What’s one thing you would want a health care provider to know about you and your disease if they don’t know anything else?
One response described a patient’s need to have full-body support, not just a hand, when getting out of a chair. Keens said this is ‘hugely’ helpful for a home nurse who may need to assist a patient.
“What that provides is an ongoing real-world support example and not a ‘how does this protocol look to you,’” said Keens. “It’s the other side of the equation that we can pair with what pharmaceutical companies are doing to make the whole patient experience better.”
According to Keens, sponsors are asking the company to do more in the home than ever before. Today, about 40% of the trials the company supports involve administration of drug – Five years ago, this number would have been ‘very small,’ he said.
“Not only are we seeing pharmaceutical companies and physicians and regulatory authorities getting more comfortable with it – The advent of additional digital scales and digital recording is going to continue to push more and more aspects of protocols in the home,” added Keens.
“It’s not just going to sites and having a procedure done,” he said, “it’s the patient experience, and by having this additional information on what the patients go through, those visits can become much more embraced by the patients themselves.”