Patient Experience Week is upon us (April 26-30) and what better time to talk about patient engagement and the growing requirement for patient-centric capabilities. Patient experience includes a range of interactions patients have with the healthcare system, including interactions with providers and other staff in hospitals, physician practices, and other healthcare facilities. While patient experience often focuses on patient engagement with payers and providers, it is also becoming increasingly important in the clinical trials industry.
The Pandemic Push for Innovation
In the COVID-19 era, hybrid and fully remote clinical trials saw significant progress as the industry pivoted to support remote participation by trial teams and trial participants. Many trial sites experienced lockdowns and restricted access so remote capabilities became essential aspects of clinical trials. The industry moved quickly to incorporate telehealth and other technologies, including more electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) tools into their study designs.
To some degree, the pandemic accelerated digital clinical trials and created a new, more pressing demand for tools that improve the patient experience and facilitate the collection of data outside the clinic. Remote participation by staff and participants rose in popularity and priority. These new requirements triggered a great deal of digital innovation in the clinical trial arena.
The Patient Experience
All these efforts have focused on improving the patient experience and effectively engaging patients as active participants in the trial. Gathering data outside the clinic must be a simple and convenient experience to maintain adherence throughout the course of a trial. For longer Phase III trials, keeping patients compliant and ensuring against the degradation of outcome reporting over time can be a challenge. Patient engagement contributes to improved outcomes so simplifying the experience and reducing any friction throughout patient interactions makes sense.
The tools being used by trial participants must be designed to address the variety and variability of hybrid and virtual trials. However, regardless of the trial design, the ePRO solution must be simple, easy to use, and easy to access. Though mobile devices are ubiquitous, some participants may prefer to respond on a laptop or tablet. The solution should support different devices without adding complexity to the interface.
The iMednet ePRO module was designed to support remote participation and to improve the experience for clinical site staff as well as study participants. As part of the iMednet unified platform, the ePRO module is easy to integrate into any trial design. In some trials, participants are asked to complete questionnaires, either in the clinic or at home. iMednet’s ePRO module incorporates a responsive design, which means it can be used on a variety of devices, including tablets and mobile phones. The interface automatically adapts to the specific orientation of the user’s device.
This approach ensures that study participants can quickly and conveniently use the ePRO module. With increased convenience participants are more likely to adhere to and report accurate and timely study-related information. Improved access means they can do this anytime, anywhere.
Users don’t need to download and maintain an app, and the user interface includes familiar features such as a tile format, swipe navigation, and visual cues and prompts designed to guide the user through their reporting tasks. System reminders also alert users to approaching due dates for their information.
Maximizing convenience and minimizing friction can have a significant positive effect on the patient experience. Simplicity and streamlined access make patient-reported outcomes as easy as checking text messages or watching Youtube videos, regardless of the device the participant uses.