By Gregg Jewett
In March and April, we devoted two webinars to CRO-ePRO Partnership and Best Practices. Based on feedback from our Sponsors and various users, we knew that this topic was critical for all parties in our industry, and most importantly, for our biopharmaceutical Sponsors. Frankly, we also realized it was a topic given very little attention to date. To that end, we launched a CROePRO Best Practices Task Force (with five leading CROs), conducted some additional research, and planned to discuss our findings in a broader forum.
In the two-part webinar series, we talked about the history of how, independently, CROs and ePRO have impacted and been impacted by the challenges and changes in the biopharmaceutical and clinical trial industry over the past decade. We also explored some developments to expect from CROs and ePRO in the coming years. We went on to discuss a few central trends that are actually drawing CROs and ePRO providers together at an increasing rate. From our research and discussion, it is this convergence of CRO and ePRO that is really most fascinating.
The Sponsor-only survey that CRF Health recently conducted, examined both CRO and ePRO adoption rates, and the results were impressive. It highlighted the fact that there was already significant utilization of CROs to support clinical trials, as well as clear utilization of ePRO providers where PROs were included in protocols – over 90% for both. Even with such towering percentages to start, survey results also showed that high numbers (over 60%) of responders expect their utilization of CROs and ePRO providers to increase further over the next two years. The most interesting data that surfaced from the survey showed there was a major gap between biopharmaceutical Sponsors that believed a CRO-ePRO partnership to be "important" and Sponsors that currently "employ" a CRO ePRO partnership in practice.