The failure to achieve meaningful diversity in clinical trials has been a longstanding issue, writes Within3 expert Kristen Bushka in The Pharma Letter. “Often, trial sponsors take a one-size-fits-all approach to recruitment and enrollment – a policy that may result in therapies that only work for a subset of patients.” However, more companies are seeing evidence that technology improves trial representation and retention.
Research shows that 77.9% of clinical trial participants are white, and that men are frequently over-represented in comparison to women. This skewed representation can lead to treatments that are ineffective for minority groups, women, children, and the elderly – despite long and expensive development timelines.
This lack of diversity and inclusion is a serious issue with serious repercussions for both drug developers and patients. Enhancing the retention rates of underrepresented groups within clinical trials has the potential to create life-changing results by improving patient outcomes.
So how can life science teams prioritize patients to increase retention and get better outcomes?
Bushka highlights a few ways that companies can rethink their approach to trial retention, including starting from a patient-centric approach overall and using technologies like virtual engagement or insights management to ease the burden of participants. “By allowing participants to engage on their own schedules, and without travel or accessibility issues, participants feel engaged and prioritized.”
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Kristen Bushka is Vice President, Client Strategy Global Manager at Within3.