As 2020 comes to a close we reflect back on what was a difficult year for everyone. The world of clinical trials received a spotlight like never before, but also presents its own unique challenges.
The good news is that patients are still ready and willing to join clinical trials despite their fears of contracting COVID-19. Disease progression doesn’t stop during shutdowns and patients are still eager to get vital treatments. The process just needs to be managed with more care than ever before.
We’ve identified three key areas that allow clinical trials to be successful, even during the surging COVID-19 pandemic.
- Clearly defined risk mitigation strategies: Clinical trial patients may often be immunocompromised and are more cautious than the general public. Fear of COVID risk consistently ranks in the top 2 barriers to clinical trial enrollment (along with fear of other adverse effects) and patients need to know how trial sites are protecting them from contracting the virus.
- Closely monitor site: Research site availability can be inconsistent with sites going offline during COVID surges. Some sites only come in one day a week and don’t have work from home capabilities. Site availability should be closely monitored so that recruitment resourcing can be adjusted to fit.
- Keep patients engaged: As studies delay and sites go offline, patients need to be “kept warm” and regularly communicated with so that interest is maintained prior to enrollment. This also keeps them from leaving for competing studies. In a world where a lot of services aren’t always reliable, being available to communicate with patients when they are looking for more information has been as important as ever.