Promoting Patient Participation in Clinical Trials

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There are roughly 74,000 registered clinical trials currently underway in the US to help aid advancements in medicine. However, only 3% of the nation’s physicians and patients participate, per the FDA. It’s most common for large health systems to conduct these trials. As a result, in the trials,  there is often less representation of medically underserved and  specialty-specific populations. A good example of this common discrepancy, Hispanics compose 16% of the US population, however, only 1% of the participants in clinical trials are Hispanic. 

This approach leads to less robust data collection. If this data could be included, it would better reflect the nation’s diverse population.

Inclusion of Diverse Populations in Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are a primary instigator of medical advancement. In order to complete clinical trials adequately, there has to be enough people willing to participate. The first step to gather patients willing to participate in these clinical trials is to make them aware of the option and educate them about clinical trials. Diversity in the patient pool of clinical trials is vital for the success of the trial, meaning it’s imperative that individuals of all demographics are represented in clinical testing. 

The launch of the affordable care act built infrastructure designed to collect and understand data. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires health insurance companies to cover any routine care costs for patients involved in clinical trials, under certain conditions. The requirements provided by the Affordable Care Act have encouraged more participation from medical practices because it opens up the door for many patients to participate without concern for  associated costs. 

However, the gap still needs to be filled between the clinical trial openings and patients who may not be aware of this opportunity. Community-based physicians are a key to reaching special patient populations and boosting minority participation in clinical trials. FQHCs have an immense opportunity to present the option of clinical trial participation to patients who may not have otherwise known about them. FQHCs that serve minority or underserved populations can participate in patient acquisition for clinical trials to help ensure that the demographics they are serving are included and represented. 

Out of all clinical trials, a few specialties that recruit the largest number of patients are oncology, cardiology, and gastroenterology. 

Clinical Trials Can Boost Staff Morale and Increase Revenue

Clinics that participate in clinical trials often see a boost in staff morale as they get to be on the front lines of medical advancements. Staff members are also able to be one of the first to learn about new medications and treatments by hosting these clinical trials. Get your staff excited about having clinical trials at your practice. Communicate to them that your clinic is at the cutting edge of medical advancements.

Clinical trials can also provide additional revenue streams for your practice. Clinical trial sponsors typically pay providers per study participant recruited at the practice. Use this insight and encourage your physicians and staff to take initiative and help recruit qualified patients.

We know it’s not easy for all practices to participate in these clinical trials, as it requires infrastructure to support them. Practices may need to invest in technology that will help them capture data, determine eligibility and promote patient participation. 

How Patient Engagement Solutions Can Help Your Practice Recruit Patients for Clinical Trials

The right patient engagement solution will help you capture necessary data and give your practice the ability to ask custom questions that gain patient interest in clinical trials. Here’s how:

  1. Ensure you can use your engagement system to correctly and seamlessly capture data based on the patient’s age, medication type, or other eligibility-related questions.
  2. During patient check in, customize your workflow and encourage participation in clinical trials.  
  3. Ask dynamic questions based on prior data intake on demographics and/or use other leading questions to peak interest in your patients, to see who is interested in participating in clinical trials.
  4. Capture that interest and keep it well documented in your system so you can leverage it for current and future clinical trials that your practices runs.

The Approach Practices Are Using Now:

With patient engagement solutions, such as the ones offered by Clearwave, practices can choose to only have a subset of a patient population participate. For example, if only a particular provider, appointment type, or location wants to participate in clinical trials, your practice will have the flexibility to make that selection. Thanks to this ability to customize,  you don’t have to make all-or-nothing decisions. You can also trial the approach with one location/provider, before rolling it out to broader.

It is important to consider a variety of factors when selecting a patient engagement solution vendor. If you want to increase patient trial participation, and the revenue along with it, it will be imperative that your engagement platform provides you with the ability to customize messages for check in . Whether your practice is using a kiosk, mobile, or tablet digital patient check-in, you should have complete flexibility of the  messages and workflow, as well as who it is sent to. Look for a vendor that doesn’t charge for the addition or removal of these messages or questions. The right patient engagement solution vendor will make this option free, quick, and accessible. With Clearwave’s advanced platform, you are able to utilize Clearwave Connect to present custom questions to your patients during check-in. 

Invest in patient engagement solution software, such as Clearwave, to help digitize and simplify your practice’s ability to recruit patients for clinical trials. When done right, this approach is a win-win for providers and patients. These tools can help initiate conversations between minority and underserved patient populations and clinical trial coordinators. 

With the right patient engagement system and the help of dedicated practice, you can provide all patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. Both the participants and the trials will reap the benefits. Patients who elect to participate are given access to new treatment options and new medications, often provided at no cost. Clinical trials lead to patient-centered outcomes in research, which improves how patients will be cared for in the future. 

Are you interested in learning how Clearwave can help your practice recruit more patients for clinical trials? Take the next step by scheduling a demo now!

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