Patient-centricity has become something of a buzzword in our industry. Making clinical trials more patient-centered isn’t a new idea, but it is something that is being increasingly noticed and strived for by sites, with new and innovative ways of increasing patient centricity coming to the fore in recent times. But just what does ‘patient-centricity’ mean, and what does it look like in practice?
Patient centricity is ultimately about putting the patient first in every aspect of every process at your site. It is often confused or packaged with patient engagement, but where engagement involves activities designed to maintain a relationship with patients, centricity is about a mindset that underpins everything you do. Patient engagement activities can vary with each trial, but a patient-centric mindset should shape your entire approach to studies and shape all your processes and activities, from leadership downwards.
Implementing Patient-centricity through four different steps:
A simple starting point in making the clinical trials experience more patient-centric is to improve the level of information provided to patients about clinical trials that are available. One way some clinics have done this is by implementing a clinical trial advice point in a prime position at the clinic for patients to become aware of what trials are available and for providers to utilize. Centralizing the information and advice about clinical trials means patients stay better informed and are more likely to register interest.
Consider Patients’ Basic Needs
Patient centricity is all about getting into the mindset of the patient, seeing things from their point of view and finding ways you can ensure their happiness and wellbeing is a priority in every step of the trail process. One aspect sites could consider is transport. Transport to and from the site can total up significant expense for patients, and sites should consider reimbursing these costs when allocating their budget.
Developing strong relationships between the PI working on a trial, and a patient’s physician is key to building a culture of patient-centricity at your site. PI’s should discuss the trial at length with physicians to outline its potential implications and the benefits it offers patients who participate. This encourages physicians to recommend their patients take part, and patients are more likely to be responsive when the recommendation comes from a trusted professional. A good relationship between investigator and physician leads the patient to feel like they are well looked after and that their health and wellbeing is a priority.
Another, perhaps more radical recent suggestion for improving patient centricity is that sites conduct ‘mock’ clinical trials before a trial begins. This allows staff to visualize and run through each of the steps, processes and timings of the trial. The benefit of this is that any problems or areas for improvement can be identified and questions can be asked so that issues are solved before a patient ever experiences them. The learning opportunities a mock trial presents optimizes the patient experience and thereby can increase retention.