December 1, 2021 | Nico O’ Kuinghttons

3 Minute Read

Ways to Prevent Losing Millions in Dermatology Clinical Trials

Keeping patients engaged and participating

You’ve done all the work. You’ve worked with your scientists to develop a product. You have a long-term marketing plan. You’ve prepared a clinical trial protocol to prove the value of your product. Everything is in place, the trial begins. Then, participants start dropping out. “It’s too inconvenient to come in for my check-up,” they say.  “It’s too hard to keep up with all the requirements,” they bemoan. Or perhaps it’s one of dozens of other possible responses.

Ways to Not Lose $8 Million a Day

These issues result in delays to meaningful research, frustration for all involved, and of course, added cost.  According to a 2016 CentreWatch study1, only 6% of trials finished on time, costing sponsors $600,000 to $8 million per day. Decentralized trials can reduce these hurdles for sponsors by speeding up recruitment, increasing compliance and reducing drop-out rates.

This news is especially promising for trial sponsors of therapies for dermatologic products. Research for dermatology products has grown significantly over the past year, fueled by interest in products ranging from psoriasis and eczema to vitiligo and even acne.

But the key to bringing these new products to the market remains the research process and that begins with getting and keeping patients in trials. New technology platforms that focus on the patient experience during a trial can help make a difference. 

Look for Partners with Patient-Facing Applications (PFAs)

Here are essential features to look for to ensure patient engagement and retention for your next dermatology clinical trial.

1. Make sure your trial partner has a PFA that can be downloaded for multiple purposes:

  • Recruitment: When a mobile screening application (iOS/Android) is used for recruitment, subjects can easily submit pre-screening data (Fitzpatrick assessment, demographics, etc.)
  • Screening: When potential participants can submit depigmentation images for screening, it saves them a visit to the site AND encourages participation since it can be done on their own devices, at their own time.
  • During the trial: After screening/recruitment, the patient can continue using the same app to collect trial data.

2. Ensure the overall application offers the following features for participants:

  • Prioritizes ease of use. For example, a platform that lets people securely log in without the need for user-names or passwords or that allows the patient to capture a photo in only a few simple steps?
  • Focuses on capturing and using images for quantitative analysis. 
  • Provides notifications, which are helpful for either “alerts” or “reminders.”  The notification can alert the individual that they are failing to report and can also remind them on a specific date/time to complete an assessment.
  • Offers native messaging (just text) so the individual can discretely message the coordinators back and forth. This feature also keeps all of the communication trails in the system.
  • Enables video conferencing through a reliable and secure source, such as the ability to accept external links to Zoom or other teleconference apps.

Getting Good Products to Patients

One other important consideration to keep in mind as you launch a mobile-based decentralized trial is the critical importance of your images. Look for platforms that guide potential subjects in collecting high-quality images (blurriness detection, lighting and focus guides, facial/PHI detection) to ensure only quality images are submitted.

There are some great products in the dermatologic clinical trials pipeline, and we need to get those products to patients. Look for partners that can help you recruit and retain ideal participants so that your trial is completed on time and within budget.

Tissue Analytics is Committed to Fixing the Hardest Part of Dermatology Clinical Trials

Need insights into how to keep patients engaged in clinical trials? Call us for a free analysis and check out our website.  

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1Center Watch Staff. Sanofi Bets on Virtual Clinical Trials. March 2017.

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