ObjectiveGI, an integrated research and technology services firm, will work with Arkansas-based ARcare, a federally qualified healthcare system. The partnership will focuse on providing more advanced diagnostics and broader care options to gastrointestinal (GI) patients, using ObjectiveGI’s clinical research platform.
Outsourcing-Pharma (OSP) discussed the collaboration with Colleen Hoke (CH), ObjectiveGI’s president and CEO, including how the partnership benefits patients, ARcare and other important entities.
OSP: Could you please tell us about ObjectiveGI— who you are, what you do, key objectives and what sets you apart from similar organizations in the field?
CH: ObjectiveGI is an integrated clinical research provider and technology platform creating joint-ventured partnership centers-of-excellence across the US in partnership with physician groups and other healthcare organizations. We provide services and technology with unique electronic health record (EHR) tools and algorithms to find patients for trials and couple this with embedded dedicated trained research coordinators supporting patients; we are succeeding where others have failed because we align all stakeholders.
We have 14 partnered programs across 12 states, supporting over 140 providers. Their scientific focus is on prevalent diseases like fatty liver disease and the metabolic syndrome, providing a range of services that transform patient care.
OSP: How did you come to work with ARcare?
CH: We met the ARcare team a few years ago as they were interested in speaking with us for a few reasons:
- They acquired new diagnostic technology in their health system that was now identifying a population with fatty liver disease and they wanted additional care options for these patients.
- They were looking for a true partnership model that could be integrated within their care system and one that would grow with them and support their organization’s goals.
OSP: Please talk a bit about clinical research as a care option (CRAACO) — how have attitudes toward and adoption of that approach evolved in recent years?
CH: Since all of healthcare is becoming a continuous learning data system, CRAACO at the point-of-care makes sense. We are in long-term partnerships with gastroenterologists, and we’re also seen as an extension of their practice from the patient’s perspective.
Patients are seen on a more frequent basis and are undergoing multiple diagnostic assessments throughout the course of the clinical trial. This brings the patient’s relevant information through diagnostic assessment, education and coaching, ultimately leading to improved engagement and an enhanced patient experience.
By bridging the gap between healthcare and research, this improves patient outcomes and leads to an overall reduction in the cost of care. Also note that we use EHR and technology to integrate healthcare and research in the context of the clinical care setting.
OSP: Similarly, have CRAACO opportunities for people dealing with various GI diagnoses been as numerous as folks with other ailments, less or more?
CH: We cannot speak to other indications; however, CRAACO is critical in fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which impacts 80m Americans. There are no approved treatments currently on the market for NASH therefore research as a care option provides patients access to science and diagnostics that improves outcomes.
Research in the community setting advances community health and provides a valuable high-touch care option for patients. It’s also important to note that while our current emphasis is NASH, there are many chronic GI disease states that will benefit from our integrated research approach including irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and other luminal GI disorders.
OSP: What benefits does this program offer to various stakeholders including patients, CROs, physicians, pharma firms?
CH: As previously stated, we are bridging the gap of healthcare and research and providing a care option both for physicians and patients where they live. Our retention rates for all trials exceeds 90%, which we believe in large part because patients are being treated by their provider specialist.
Our centers of excellence in GI research provide pharmaceutical sponsors and CROs a focused, accountable, technology driven solution for conducting clinical research across the country. We can use our EHR access and proprietary technology to identify patients for all of our programs.
We are also able to normalize the EHR data across our network to identify the right potential patients for the specific trials for our partnered physician investigators to consider. These efforts dramatically improve trial performance and our ability to partner with sponsors and CROs, therefore delivering great results.
In other words, this seamless integration of GI research in the physician practices broadens their ancillary services offerings and enhances care for their patients. For sponsors, we are able to drive research trial screening and enrollment centrally through our technology and access to EHR across all of our locations, which expedites the clinical trial process.
OSP: Do you plan to expand to other states/systems outside ARcare?
CH: ARCare is currently one of 14 ObjectiveGI joint venture partnerships across the US. We now have physician practice partnerships in 12 states involving 150 providers. Our growth plans include expansion to 40 sites by 2024 with expanded research service lines in companion diagnostics, obesity, the microbiome, and luminal GI diseases.
In addition to this initiative, we are currently expanding in two other states in Q3 and have a robust pipeline to continue this expansion throughout 2020 and 2021.