It’s no secret patient enrollment is one of the main roadblocks to successful clinical research execution. According to CenterWatch Monthly, half of research sites enroll no more than a single patient and one in five fail to recruit any at all.
There are a variety of reasons behind this patient enrollment struggle. However, the same CenterWatch Monthly article presents a new one: principal investigator (PI) bias. Recent survey results reveal PI’s may inadvertently be creating blocks to more robust enrollment. The survey, conducted by ZS and listed in CenterWatch Monthly, found about 75% of responding patients said they will consider participating in a clinical trial if suggested by a doctor. However, the survey also found 56% of likely eligible patients are not offered trials by PIs, and PIs assume 55% of patients would be unwilling to participate if offered.
How can we overcome this enrollment-limiting bias and efficiently fill clinical trials? Education and engagement.
Educating Physicians to Increase Patient Enrollment
We need to do a better job of educating physicians on such unconscious biases and the essential link between research and healthcare. As the ultimate healthcare-enabling research organization, Elligo Health Research’s mission is to increase access to clinical trial participation by supporting patients, sites, and sponsors.
As part of our site-supportive solutions, we engage in physician education to help promote the concept of research as care and increase physician and practice ability to conduct trials, such as our new to research sites training and education on pre-screening patients and matching them to available trials. We also offer a range of services to make it easier for sites to participate in research and increase their patient’s access to participation, including patient identification and engagement solutions for experienced sites as well as unique research agreements and supportive platforms to ensure availability of qualified sites in traditionally underrepresented areas.
Engaging With Patients to Increase Enrollment
Beyond educating physicians to reduce their unconscious biases, we must also do a better job educating and connecting with patients. How can we expect patients to agree to participate in something they don’t understand or don’t feel supported in?
Elligo is committed to increasing clinical trial access by improving patient education and engagement. For example, our PatientSelect model carefully identifies and engages with each patient through their trusted physician to increase the likelihood of research participation. The PatientSelect identification and engagement process begins with a search of HIPAA-compliant identified EHR data from over 40 leading platforms to find likely patients and their medical records. It also includes expert review of individual records to ensure they meet the study requirements as well as a meeting between the PI and the patient’s trusted physician to come to a joint decision on patient selection ending with the physicians personally inviting selected patients to participate.
Our virtual waiting room also increases patient education and engagement to further support clinical trial enrollment. By agreeing to enter the virtual waiting room, patients gain access to background information on studies, important details about participation, and updates leading up to the trial launch. They also receive materials in the appropriate reading level to educate them on participation, all with the goal of helping them become enthusiastic, engaged trial participants. The virtual waiting room also has an AI-driven virtual assistant, Root Health. Patients can text Root questions about upcoming clinical trials in various therapeutic areas and even receive study enrollment support when the inclusion-exclusion criteria are finalized, further increasing engagement and therefore research participation.
Education and Engagement Accelerate Research
While there are many motivations behind clinical research participation, the main one, advancing healthcare for current and future patients, is essentially about human connection. We do research to help people. If we always come back to that human connection, meaning connecting and engaging with patients and physicians alike, research will be that much more efficient and effective. Physicians who are connected to, educated about, and engaged with research are more likely to bring up trials as additions or alternatives to their patients’ standard of care. Similarly, patients who are connected to, educated about, and engaged with research are empowered to make the right choices for their health and the health of those to come.
Streamline Your Clinical Research Execution
Contact Elligo today to learn how our patient engagement and physician education can accelerate your study.