29 Jun Clincierge Personalizes Patient Support Services to Facilitate Clinical Trials
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Scott Gray: Founder and CEO of Clincierge, the global leader in patient support services for clinical trials. With a team of patient coordinators around the world, Clincierge helps patients and their caregivers navigate the logistics of clinical trial participation, including prepaid air travel, ground transportation, and lodging as well as rapid reimbursements, translation and interpretation services, and individual solutions for trial participants in remote locations or with complex medical needs. For more information, visit clincierge.com.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the mission of Clincierge?
Response: Our mission is to improve the performance of clinical trials around the world by better managing the patient experience through highly personalized patient support services and efficient processes carried out by a team of experienced travel and logistics professionals.
MedicalResearch.com: What types of studies has Clincierge handled? What types of specialized logistics does it employ to manage patient and caregiver needs?
Response: Clincierge has provided patient support services for more than 180 studies in 25 different therapeutic areas covering 87 indications. Concentrations often include rare and ultra-rare diseases and genetic disorders, as those patients tend to have cognitive and mobility challenges and thus require the most assistance.
Regardless of the study area, we match trial participants with specialized patient coordinators who provide personalized, creative, and continuous logistics support throughout the length of the trial. This can involve something as simple as being able to communicate with the participants in their native language, as we have a team of patient coordinators in more than 40 countries around the world. It’s important to us that patients and caregivers receive support from someone who not only answers the phone when they call, but also understands their cultural expectations and the geography and climate of their countries of origin.
In the rare disease space, our coordinators have a deep understanding of the potential impediments rare diseases may present and provide proactive, personalized, and compassionate support to accommodate the unique needs of each patient and their caregiver.
Specialized services include complex travel or long-term housing arrangements for patients who may reside great distances from the research institutions. Often, entire families need to relocate for months or even years at a time. Each participant in a trial requires customized solutions for airline, rail, and ground transportation, which can include accommodations for medical equipment and climate-controlled medications, passport and visa services, overnight accommodations or apartment rentals, translation services so the family can communicate with medical staff, and prepayment, reimbursement, and exchange rate support.
Our goal is to support clinical trial participants from enrollment through the end of the clinical trial. This sort of personalized logistics management helps ease the financial, logistical, and psychological barriers that impede a patient’s ability to participate in a clinical trial.
MedicalResearch.com: How has your team overcome the unique challenges of working with Alzheimer’s patients, including recruitment and retention?
Response: Recruitment and retention do indeed become increasingly difficult in Alzheimer’s clinical trials.
Recently, Clincierge managed the patient logistics for Biogen’s clinical trial which led to a new drug for treating Alzheimer’s. As we worked with the Biogen team to manage patient logistics, we also developed a greater understanding of the urgency to develop and deliver treatments for Alzheimer’s, which impacts an estimated 6.2 million older Americans age 65.
Because most Alzheimer’s patients are over the age of 65, they face unique challenges to clinical trial participation. For example, all Alzheimer’s trials require the participation of a study partner to facilitate participation, reporting, and monitoring during the trial. The study partner must accompany the patient to site visits and make regular reports on the patient’s cognitive and functional abilities for the duration of the study, which can last for several years.
This is where our patient support services are especially instrumental in the success of a trial. We implement a proactive strategy for managing the particular challenges of the Alzheimer’s patient population. The services we offer for all trials are especially important in accommodating the particular needs of Alzheimer’s patients:
- A single, dedicated coordinator for one-on-one support of each patient
- Appointment scheduling and management, especially important for those who aren’t tech-savvy
- Prepaid travel arrangements
- Travel logistics that take the needs of an older population into consideration, such as arranging car trips over rail or air and remembering to plan convenient and safe breaks during long car rides
In addition, our coordinators establish ongoing relationships with patients, their caregivers, and site staff, which establishes a sense of trust and assurance in the process. Knowing they will be supported as they move through the trial process encourages both patients and caregivers to enroll while ongoing support enables long-term participation.
MedicalResearch.com: How does Clincierge support diversity in its patient clientele?
Response: The team at Clincierge is very conscious of the need to expand the diversity profile of patients included in clinical trials. We do this by first identifying the particular barriers to access that deter participants, such as emotional, physical, and financial considerations. Then we create strategies to address them head-on.
For instance, would prepayment of travel expenses help to reduce financial barriers? Do the travel logistics present significant challenges, given the physical condition of the participants and/or economic status? Does the trial require cross-border travel or present language barriers that make participants hesitant to enroll?
Our solutions to improve diversity and retention for complex studies include offering personalized support services for patients and caregivers. Here are some of the ways we do that:
- Increased education to various demographic groups
- Increased education to community leaders and their communities, including patient advocacy groups
- Increased site locations within specific communities, especially those that have historically been underserved
- The assurance of a Clincierge coordinator to create a high-touch, personalized one-on-one relationship from enrollment through the end of the clinical trial
- Logistics planning and pre-payment for expenses related to study visits that take the burden of participation off patients and their families
- An easy and quick reimbursement program
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Clincierge humanizes the patient experience by serving the unique needs of patients in clinical trials, including for complex studies and for rare or ultra-rare diseases. With a global team of patient coordinators delivering personalized services and expert leaders steering safety and compliance, we have contributed to the success of more than 180 clinical trials.
What gives us pride in the work we do are the relationships we develop with participants as well as clinical trial coordinators, who can focus more of their time on managing the study itself. Our goal is to ease the challenges of participation, making it as easy on the patient and family as possible to commit to the length of a study.
We do this by:
- Treating every patient and caregiver as if they are family; we know they are often facing challenging circumstance and try to provide as much comfort and support as possible
- Specializing in clinical trials for rare and complex diseases, oftentimes helping patients safely and comfortably reach their only option for treatment
- Assigning local patient coordinators who speak the patient’s language, live in the same time zone, understand the nuances of the participant’s health needs and their culture/region, and provide 24/7 ongoing personalized support to the entire family for the entire duration of the study, often forming very deep and long-lasting relationships.
By improving the clinical trial experience and dramatically increasing retention rates, we help pharmaceutical and gene therapy companies carry out more successful and efficient clinical trials with the goal of generating effective treatments and – ultimately – cures.
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