The Journey to Improving Clinical Trial Travel Begins Today
Clinical trials explore ways to improve a person’s quality of life. Yet too often for patients, travel to and from the trial has the opposite effect.
Travel in general can be stressful. Roads and highways are jammed with traffic, flights are changed, luggage is lost and airline gates may be far from connections. Travel and the accompanying stressors are magnified for people living with a disease or condition who participate in clinical trials.
Long distance and even “local” travel within a state or region can create logistical and financial barriers to participation in clinical trials. Frequent visits to the study site and out-of-pocket costs are burdensome. Patients and families may travel great distances to and from study centers. Transportation is especially challenging for elderly participants, yet, regardless of age, lengthy travel times may hamper participation. In addition, clinical trial companions – including family members or medical professionals who speak local languages – may need to accompany patients traveling to clinical study sites.
Furthermore, a fundamental paradigm shift is underway regarding how medicine today is practiced and delivered. Medicine is becoming more personalized, with physicians using tests to identify specific genetic biomarkers that help to determine the best treatments and procedures for each patient. Personalized medicine targets prevention, diagnosis and treatment that is unique for each patient. As the healthcare system transitions from a “one-sizefits-all” approach toward this new approach, access to care will be affected and patients will need to travel greater distances to engage with a site that can treat their specific illness.
In this paper, we dive into the logistical and financial challenges which increasingly impact all clinical trial stakeholders - from patients and sites, to sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs). Yet with proper planning and the right partners on board, travel arrangements and reimbursement programs can make the trial and patient experience more comfortable and successful for everyone.