Laguna Clinical Research Associates (LCRA) will work in close partnership with Elligo Health Research in an effort to make clinical studies a more feasible option for patients in a wide array of diverse communities. The initiative stands to bring clinical research as a care option (CRAACO) to more than 20 urgent care locations, giving patients quality care and bringing patients into more studies.
LCRA owner Milton Haber told Outsourcing-Pharma that the largely Latino patient base (about 90%) served by his organization has specific needs and struggles that need to be taken into account by the research industry.
“Minority populations have historically been underrepresented in clinical research; this population does tend to have a disproportionate percentage of patients with obesity, HTN, renal failure resulting in dialysis and other complications,” he told OSP. “It is important that these patients are well managed in order to prevent these complications and to reverse the lifestyles that contribute to these issues.”
Getting such underrepresented groups into research, Haber added, leads to benefits across the board.
“By enrolling this population in studies that address these issues, it not only helps the patients themselves but also helps scientists quickly learn which therapies and preventative measures are most effective in this population and in general,” he added.
LCRA CEO Veronica Procasky commented that Elligo’s mission to increase access, inclusivity, and diversity in research is in line with her organization’s goals.
“Partnering with Elligo allows us to build on our successful model for implementing urgent care and clinical research, which pairs the rapid implementation of clinical trials with the utmost care and safety of our patients,” Procasky said. “This is a clear opportunity to extend our commitment to the highest quality delivery of both medicine and clinical research.”
John Potthoff, CEO of Elligo Health Research, said the research industry’s long-standing habit of conducting most studies in large metropolitan areas with somewhat homogenous populations leaves patients underrepresented in a number of areas—race, gender, age, economic status, and more.
“Clinical research participants have been predominantly white, middle-aged men; Elligo’s model brings clinical research to the community level — from inner-city locations to rural practices and everywhere in between, he said. "We’re able to identify and include a more diverse population, which results in outcomes that are more representative of the population and leads to more inclusive research that increases the safety and efficacy of therapies across a broader, more diverse range of patients.”
Increasing CRAACO opportunities, Potthoff commented, enables researchers to connect with much-needed patients, and for patients to access much-needed care. However, making that connection requires a shift in perspective.
“Providing research as a care option first requires the ability to identify and enroll patients who may benefit from this option; the industry needs to break out of the conventional mindset that views patients as a scarcity and instead focus on the abundance of patients in healthcare,” he said. “With Elligo’s access to over 150m patients and their data, pharma and their research partners can access patients in abundance to conduct clinical trials that are both faster and more inclusive.”