SCOPE 2023

SCOPE 2023 - will decentralized trials be the hottest topic?

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags SCOPE 2023 Decentralized trials Clinical trials Patient centricity patient engagement Research Virtual clinical trials Clinical trial

One of the biggest questions being posed at this year's SCOPE summit, is whether the term 'decentralized clinical trials' will become redundant, as it forms the norm.

By the end of the year, some companies believe all trials will include elements of decentralization or digitization. 

In the 2023 SCOPE agenda, the acronym DCT and the word decentralized get 242 mentions which is almost double all the other hot topics including the next most popular – innovative that gets 157, diversity 116, patient centricity/centric at 95 down to real world evidence (RWE) at 65 and AI/machine learning which gets 56 mentions. This information was provided by Steve Wimmer, director of partnerships, at 1nHealth. 

It is certain that DCTs are now global and according to analysis from the Clinical Trials Arena, the decentralization was most common in the UK (14%), Australia (12%), Canada (11%) and Poland (11%). These percentages were calculated per country by dividing the number of decentralized trials by the total number of both virtual and non-virtual trials in 2022.

Speaking of his interest in the stats, he said: "The content from major events tends filter out to the rest of the industry through news and social media, so the SCOPE agenda can literally predict what we’ll be talking about the next few months. I thought it would be interesting to see if my perception of shifting currents was reflected in any objective way.

"Diversity and inclusion have been in the foreground on social media lately, and behind closed doors I sense a lot of people expressing frustration at the term ‘patient-centricity’ because they feel it’s become a buzzword rather than a mission statement. Diversity topics outpacing patient-centricity aligns with the broader direction of conversations I have at conferences and online."

DCT platform provider, Medable, reports it has seen a nearly 30% increase in the use of DCT since 2021, but whether DCTs will be the new normal in clinical research is going to be one of the main discussion points at the SCOPE summit this year.

Just ahead of SCOPE, Medable announced a new international partnership with Novia Scotia Health Innovation Hub with the aim of increasing the accessibility of oncology care for remote patients in rural Nova Scotia, and said the long-term aim was to improve patient access and diversity across Canada.

In Nova Scotia, lengthy travel is required for follow-up appointments for low-risk oncology patients which means long-term care could be inadequate and may lead to an increased risk of undetected recurrence.

The Novia Scotia Health (NSH) Innovation Hub partnership with Medable has ambitions to lead Canada in improving patient outcome through a more connected patient experience using tools offered in decentralized research. Medable’s Total Consent Management and Televisit solutions along with other services will be used in a two-year pilot study to increase access for these patients.

Low-risk oncology patients in Nova Scotia are less likely to receive adequate long-term care due to the lengthy travel required for follow-up appointments, leading to an increased risk for patients of an undetected recurrence.

The Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub partnership with Medable aims to lead Canada in improving patient outcomes through a more connected patient experience using tools offered in decentralized research. Medable’s Total Consent Management​ and Televisit​ solutions plus other services will be used in a two-year pilot study to increase access for these patients.

Gail Tomblin Murphy, vice president, research, innovation and discovery at NSH, said: “Nova Scotia Health is focused on conducting breakthrough research that brings meaningful outcomes to patients. We aspire to lead globally in identifying and implementing new technologies that facilitate those outcomes, especially in remote settings.

“We are thrilled to partner with Medable, a fellow champion of healthcare innovation whose solutions directly address the challenges in our province’s health system, from patient access and a wide variety of available trials to best care possible, and beyond. We look forward to a successful ongoing partnership.”

Nova Scotia Health launched its two-year pilot study of differentiated thyroid cancer patients and their follow-up care post treatment on the Medable platform in January.

Dr. Ali Imran, the principal investigator for this study and physician for Nova Scotia Health will head up the study and the patients will be under his care.

He said: “We face numerous challenges to providing holistic care, including remote parts of Nova Scotia, difficulty in recruiting diverse patients, and a shortage of clinical researchers.

“Nova Scotia Health, which conducts around 400 clinical trials per year, also hopes this strategy will empower primary care providers (PCP) to be more involved with their patients post-trial through a shared care model, supported by DCT technologies.

“With Medable, my patients will continue to get the best care, wherever they live. This is the future of clinical research, and I am honored to play my part.”

Related topics Patient centricity

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