Photo from the Partnerships in Clinical Trials Facebook page.
The Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference has been around for a little more than two decades, and has focus on strategic relationships within the pharma industry. It’s been a place where Pharma companies, contract research organizations (CROs), suppliers and other vendors could come together to exchange knowledge, share the latest information on new products and services, and form business partnerships.
While this year’s conference was still very much industry-focused, there’s a welcomed expansion in the industry’s definition of “partner.” This year, additional patient advocates and clinical investigators were woven throughout the conference presentations and workshops, giving attendees a much more well-rounded view of the industry as a whole and helping us to better see where we may be falling short and how we can improve.
We felt that three of the most valuable discussions were centered around bringing clinical trials to patients, implementing patient-centered clinical trial design and partnering with other pharma companies to improve drug development.
hGraph: patient + clinician looking together by Kelly Mansfield is licensed under CC by 2.0
ePatients—patients who are well-informed and empowered by digital technology and see themselves as equal partners with their doctors and healthcare providers—are on their way to becoming more the norm than the exception. For example, according to a recent Pew Research study, 72 percent of Internet users said they had looked up health information in the past year.
Another often-quoted statistic about the current state of clinical trials tells us that only 16 percent of cancer patients surveyed are aware that clinical trials are an option. This could indicate that we are missing opportunities to increase awareness about clinical trials through digital technology and online resources. In a time where 30 percent of trials never get off the ground because they fail to enroll enough patients, we can’t afford to miss these opportunities any longer. Bringing information about clinical trials to ePatients is important in expanding healthcare options and getting better treatments to the public faster.
The Partnerships in Clinicals Trials conference brings together more than 1,300 industry specialists for four days of high-level idea exchange and innovation. It has been around for 23 years now, and in that time, the industry has seen a lot of positive change; however, much more is needed.
This year, I had the opportunity to serve on the conference’s advisory panel, and I look forward to seeing how many presentations and workshops will be focused on new approaches and true innovation.
Here are just of few potential highlights:
Last year, the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) surveyed more than 5,700 people for an in-depth study on public and patient perceptions, motivations, and experiences with clinical research participation. The research showed the differences between where patients prefer to get their clinical trial information and where they actually get information about trials.
Many patients want to get information from their primary physician (52 percent) or their specialist (41 percent) but more people get their clinical trial information from the internet (46 percent) than from their primary physician or specialist (both 20 percent).