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February 23, 2023

Life science trend tracker #6

In our ongoing series, we’re highlighting industry news and resources for deeper learning.
trends in life science

Our regular trend tracker series presents trends in life science in a quick, scannable format. Check out recent top stories and dive into additional reading to help you respond.

Diversity toolkit

The Digital Medicine Society collaborated with industry leaders on a new toolkit to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in digital clinical trials. The resources include specific definitions, guidelines on tools to use throughout digital clinical trials, and a workbook to help increase trial enrollment and retention. About 80% of current clinical trial patients are white, and only 45% are women.

“We actively continue to put people of color, women, poor communities, and other underrepresented populations at risk every single day with our failure to change the way we run clinical trials,” says Digital Medicine Society CEO Jennifer Goldsack. “It’s been one year since the FDA issued draft guidance for DEI in clinical trials, and while organizations have hired DEI heads, many lack a team, sufficient budget, and clear direction to make a real difference.”

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Increasing patient focus

Social determinants of health (SDOH) can offer greater insights into patient realities at the point of care to improve clinical outcomes. A new study from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) shows a lack of standardization and documentation of how SDOHs are used in real-world treatment scenarios.

The findings revealed that SDOH data needs to be better translated into actionable processes and recommended incentivizing the collection of SDOH information. AHIMA also called for increased funding to build a more holistic infrastructure to support better coordination and connectivity between healthcare organizations at the state and local levels in managing SDOH data.

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Gaining ground for virtual access

A new House bill in the US proposes permanent, stand-alone telehealth benefits. The plan would allow employers to treat telehealth services as excepted benefits – similar to vision and dental coverage, employers would be allowed to finance telehealth as additional medical care rather than replacing essential medical benefits.

Extending telehealth benefits into post-pandemic life more permanently has weighed heavy on the healthcare industry. Telehealth has successfully improved access to care and equity, so the proposed legislation to make telehealth a more significant part of employer healthcare plans shows substantial progress.

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