Partner Forum: Is data the key to trial recruitment?

LabCorp's purchase of CRO Covance promises to open access to LabCorp's patient database for trial recruiting. Can this help resolve problems like the disparity of female representation and scarcity of subjects for studies?

Matt Brown
CEOGuidemark Health

Access to a database of more than 75 million patients promises to improve the effectiveness of identifying individuals with specific demographic and clinical profiles. It could also reduce costs and improve outcomes associated with the trials. And with chronic disease soaring and more targeted therapies in the pipelines, it couldn't come at a better time.

But identifying patients is only half of the challenge.  Convincing patients to participate is still a significant barrier that data alone can't solve.  

To truly improve our ability to recruit patients, we need to build community around the growing number of patients who are becoming engaged in their own health.  

We have to create a “win” for the patient; otherwise, the data will only serve to help the industry identify those we just wish were in our trials. 

Jim Carroll
Vice president, product management and marketing, iCTRS

Given the time-intensive, often unpredictable nature of trial enrollment, the ability to quickly mine data to identify cohorts of patients is invaluable. Mining patient data assets, including lab data, provides an added degree of precision and predictability. 

Lab data provides insights into health markers, which are used as criteria for more and more protocols. However, data insights alone are not enough to recruit patients. Successful recruitment requires an efficient and privacy-compliant process. For many protocols, longitudinal pharmacy data offers a way to identify and reach the desired patients.  In the case of lab data, physician education and involvement may be needed to help doctors understand how to support patients who may be eligible for trial participation.

Marc Sirockman
Executive vice president and general -manager,  Artcraft Health

Increasing recruitment and enrollment within clinical trials is a priority throughout medical research. The ability to leverage a patient database to meet recruitment goals can be a huge advantage. 

However, if not used appropriately, this tactic may actually add to the negative stigma of pharma and the clinical trial experience. Many patients and their caregivers are already apprehensive of clinical trials. 

This fear, combined with a lack of awareness and decreased physician engagement, has only compounded the problem. Therefore, if the database is used strategically in conjunction with education and in support of patients and their needs, it could prove vital in clinical trial recruitment. 

Jay Carter
Senior vice president, director of strategy services, AbelsonTaylor

Data mining that doesn't compromise HIPAA guidelines can only help better target patients for clinical trials. However, experience suggests that outside of oncology, critical barriers for trial recruitment are more around the ability of individual practices to recruit patients due to socioeconomic status (why take a risk on an untried agent when my insurance covers me?) or the ability to not lose patients due to adequate follow-up. 

I hope that this acquisition turns a market vertical into a real benefit in this case, but I'm not sure it addresses a key deficiency in the process. 



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