As we look back at the past few months, I see three lessons that health care researchers can take from our experience so far:
More collaboration. In nearly every case, meaningful progress against Covid-19 has been the result of multiple organizations working together with a unified mission. While partnerships have long been a facet of drug development, the intensity and scale of recent collaboration is unprecedented.
Rethink clinical trial design. Patients frequently cite barriers to access as a reason they don’t participate in clinical trials. In cancer research, for instance, more than half of patients don’t have a trial available to them at a nearby institution.
The widespread adoption of telehealth services spurred by recent social distancing measures is a significant step forward, as it allows geographically diverse patients to access trials where clinical sites aren’t available.
Better integration of digital technologies… Digital solutions in clinical trials continue to rapidly evolve, and it is the pharmaceutical industry’s responsibility to lead the way in implementing them. It is also up to us to communicate the benefits these tools can offer to help overcome status quo biases that may hinder progress. For instance, we found that the clinical trial sites that implemented a cloud-based system enrolled 23% more patients than those that did not.