Enabling Patient-Focused Research Through Virtual Clinical Trials

Podcast, Videos


In this Fireside Chat episode, I got to sit down with Chad Walsh, CEO of Sciteline, for an in-depth discussion around virtual trials, including their benefits, barriers, and impact on patient-centricity. We also explored data privacy concerns, the role of digital technologies for remote patient monitoring, eConsent, telemedicine, and much more!

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: One of the potential fears [around virtual trials, change management, and systems thinking] has to do with the reinvention or the reimagination of what an investigator is, what they do, how they get compensated, or potentially entire delivery systems like what is the utility of a Contract Research Organization (CRO). What does Sciteline have to say about what the future of those dynamics is going to be?

A: It’s a great question, Natalie. You’ve hit on one key thing which is we work in a really big ecosystem. We are not the soul accelerator of this technology as to your point. It takes sponsors, CROs, patient groups, all looking in a different direction. I think it’s going to take time. The first thing I would say is before we reimagine some of the bigger stuff you’re talking about, I think we need to talk about trial design.

One of the hardest things I think that’s happening in the short term is people are trying to fit some of these technologies into traditional designs as opposed to reimagining what the endpoints might look like. For example, if you had an endpoint that required a six-minute walk test as a part of your trial and the protocol suggested that people had to drive into the site, walk for six minutes, and you’re able to capture that; are there other ways that we could design that endpoint to be able to capture it in other ways?

People often jump straight to wearable technology or things like that, but I think in the short-term, what we see is people looking at different options. Yes, there’s a physical site option but there’s also often a nurse visiting your home as an option. There is potentially a family member being trained to be a part of this process, before you get all the way to that technology. So I think part of this is following the patient. I think if we start at the point of following the patient and realizing that patients probably don’t necessarily want a fully decentralized experience in all cases. In a lot of cases, they may want a hybrid solution. That’s what you see in most other industries and most other people’s lived experiences. To your point, is either optionality or a hybrid experience.

I think, to your earliest point, we have to follow the regulators as a starting point. After that, it’s incumbent for us collectively to push towards what is possible, and that is, often times a technology solution, but it’s also just reimagining how we design these things, who we engage in the processes, and what the overall trial might look like…

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Chad Walsh, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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