By Alicia C. Staley. Sr. Director, Patient Engagement, Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company
When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, clinical trials faced major disruptions. Hospitals and other clinical sites in affected areas suddenly were like battlezones, dangerous spaces for COVID-19 infection and spread. Some trials were temporarily paused, others put on hold indefinitely. Valuable research into important cures and medicines stopped in its tracks. To get trials up and running again, sponsors needed to know which clinical trial patients had symptoms of COVID-19 and which patients were at risk.
To help sponsors track these critical details, Medidata built an online COVID-19 tracker. However, too many patients dropped out before completing the tracker’s survey, so Medidata turned to patients for help in understanding why. Medidata learned from patient advocates that a few relatively simple tweaks to the design that placed less of a burden on requests for identifying information upfront, could keep patients fully engaged. With these subtle but impactful changes, patients were completing the survey and staying the course.
Clinical trials research teams know the patient is paramount. The patient is at the center of the entire effort to find effective medical treatments for illness. Without an engaged patient, a clinical trial cannot do its essential work. This is why Medidata puts the patient experience at the center of every product we design. We aim to offer clinical research teams tools and trials that are not just high tech, but high touch —communicating care and support and taking each individual patient experience into account.