The CRO's role in advancing patient centricity

CROs and sponsors can work together to improve the clinical trial experience for patients. (Image: iStock/chaiyon021)

There are several opportunities for contract research organizations (CROs) to advance patient centricity and many are looking to do so over the next three years, according to a report.

The report, recently published by the Life Science Strategy Group, LLC (LSSG), found sponsors are increasingly adopting patient-centric strategies – and those who haven’t yet, are discussing implementation.

Attitude toward adopting and implementing a patient-centric approach. (Image: LSSG)

Pharma wants to use patient-centric strategies not only to try and improve the development process, but to also connect better with the public/clinical trial community to shift opinions that pharma is just in it for the money,” Jon Meyer, MSc, MBA, founder and principal consultant at LSSG told

Up to 87% of survey respondents are discussing patient-centric approaches to clinical development and half expect to implement such approaches within the next 1 to 3 years, according to the report.

Anticipation of implementing patient-centric approaches for clinical development. (Image: LSSG)

As Meyer explained, some of these approaches include adaptive-design clinical trials, collecting patient feedback after the study, developing patient-focused applications, and facilitating community outreach and discussions – all of which have begun making inroads in the industry as various stakeholders, including patients themselves, push for such initiatives.

However, “other factors including budgets and timelines can take equal priority,” Meyer added.

Working together for the patient

According to the report, the majority of respondents agree that sponsors and CROs should work together on most responsibilities throughout a trial.

Sponsors should be more responsible for engaging with patient advocacy groups, facilitating community outreach, and implementing adaptive-design trials,” Meyer explained, adding that CROs should focus on collecting patient feedback and the logistics of running the trials.

Primary responsibility of necessary activities and thought leadership. (Image: LSSG)

Though Meyer explained, there are several opportunities for CROs as pharma implements patient-centric strategies. “CROs can focus efforts on improving their ability to make trial participation easier for patients,” he said. “That’s the big one.”

According to Meyer, CROs are also uniquely positioned to be a liaison between sponsors and patients.

Having relationships with enabling technologies and /or technology companies can also be a differentiator for CROs, he said.

Ultimately, what this research shows is that pharma is actively and increasingly focusing on the patient as a means to overcome challenging patient recruitment in clinical trials,” said Meyer – as it becomes increasingly hard to enroll and complete trials on time.

An improved trial experience can help with study participation, trial enrollment and also improve public opinions about pharma,” he added. “CROs can help support pharma in these efforts by interfacing with both parties and becoming more versed in technologies/strategies to support patient-centric efforts.”

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