Telehealth: The trial site at the other end of the line

By Vassia Barba contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Chainarong Prasertthai)
(Image: Getty/Chainarong Prasertthai)

Related tags: Virtual clinical trials, Clinical trial app, Clinical trial design, patient engagement

Participants in a clinical trial can virtually ‘visit’ their physicians at the trial site with Firma’s telehealth software.

During the upcoming SCOPE Summit that will take place in Orlando, US, next week, contract research organization (CRO) Firma Clinical Research will present its ‘telehealth’ software, offering attendees the opportunity to experience a virtual visit to a clinical trial site.

Michael Woods, the company’s CEO, explained to Outsourcing-Pharma that this backend technology allows for the site to determine what its ‘virtual office hours’ are on each day and the patient can schedule a virtual visit within the allotted hours.

“When the visit is scheduled, the patient logs into the application and the site is automatically connected to the patient in a way very similar to Facetime,”​ said Woods, adding that this type of technology allows clinical trials to be more creative and bring more options to patients.

Ultimately, the technology is expected to help sponsors increase patient recruitment and retention, as well as expediting drug development and regulatory approvals.

The application will be showcased at the event, while at the same time Firma’s ‘home health’ experts will be offering operational, regulatory and financial perspectives regarding incorporating home visits into clinical trial sponsor protocols.

Woods told us that “to stay abreast of the global regulatory environment for conducting research and protecting the rights and needs of human study subjects” ​is one of the main challenges that researchers are currently required to overcome.

Asked about patient-centric approaches and their adoption from the industry, Firma’s CEO suggested that “the market continues to learn that research needs to revolve around the patient.”

According to the executive, it is now time for the industry to “more aggressively take action beyond talking about patient centricity.”

In order for researchers to achieve this goal, the first step is ‘listening to the research subject’, suggested Woods, with the next step being “taking what was learned and responding to the needs of the patient participant.”

Ahead of the CRO’s participation at the SCOPE Summit, Firma’s CEO told us that the event is a ‘terrific’ collaborative environment in which to advance the company’s patient-centric mission.

He added that expectations from the event include making meaningful connections, as well as talking and listening to decision-makers who are seeking innovative solutions that enhance patient centricity in clinical research.

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