Making Clinical Research a Natural Extension of Private Practices
In the field of clinical research, perhaps the biggest hurdle to successfully completing trials is finding and retaining patients.
It can at times be a tall order to locate patients who are not only a good fit medically speaking, but who are also willing to actively participate in a study for a period of months or years. Even those who initially agree to participate — maybe because the particular treatment being studied could be applicable to their condition — can lose interest over time. Industry-wide, the retention level for clinical trials stands at around 70 percent.
At ObjectiveHealth, we wanted to see if we could do better by approaching clinical research in a different way. Instead of standing up independent clinics devoted to running trials, we wanted to try another strategy — seamlessly integrating clinical research into existing private practices and making patient participation a natural extension of the care process.
For private practices, adding a research arm is a major undertaking that, if not done thoughtfully, could result in poor trial performance and a negative experience. Our approach involves creating a true partnership with our physicians. We manage all aspects related to our research partnership, from providing equipment and infrastructure to hiring, training and managing all research employees. We have taken great efforts to create a frictionless research workflow that keeps doctors from becoming entangled with issues unrelated to their clinical practice and allows them to focus on patient care, while also participating as a research investigator.
Research can help differentiate a practice regionally. Patients often want to feel that their doctor is at the forefront of new drugs and technologies, and building a sophisticated, fully integrated center of excellence can help nurture confidence while giving a provider the opportunity to build out new service lines.
We view clinical research as a patient care opportunity, so it’s extremely important for us to maintain the quality of the patient experience. We want patients to think of research as an extension of the practice they know and trust. That’s why we ideally locate a research arm in the physical footprint of an existing practice or adjacent to it, so that patients see it as being under the umbrella of their provider.
Patients who participate in research get access to new and innovative treatments and advanced diagnostics. In some cases, the extra time spent participating in a trial might provide a more holistic assessment of the body’s functions than at a conventional doctor visit, adding up to more value for patients.
The relationship between doctors and patients is special, building a level of trust that can be helpful in making patients more open to participation in clinical trials. Patients who might lack the motivation to stick with an independent research company will sometimes treat the process more favorably if they view it as an aspect of their care. If any unforeseen issues or clinical care needs come up during the trial, our seamless relationship with doctors allows patients to have a dialogue about care interventions with a trusted provider who they’ve known for years.
While we welcome doctors to suggest patients for consideration, we rely more heavily on our proprietary, AI-driven technology to help select candidates for clinical trials. Our technology interfaces with patients’ electronic health records and the provider’s schedule, allowing us to quickly identify and curate patients who appear to be the best candidates for a specific trial. From there, we coordinate a prescreening test to further characterize if a patient is a good candidate.
Our clinical research model continues to prove its strength. We currently have a 90 percent retention rate in our studies, a full 20 percent higher than the industry average. And even during COVID, when many clinical research studies were forced to adapt to changing circumstances, we didn’t miss a single patient visit at our sites. Patients wanted to visit their doctors because they knew they could trust them to provide the best care.
Adding clinical research to a private practice can be a major transition, but done with care, it can elevate the patient experience while differentiating practices from others in their area. If you’d like to explore potential opportunities for your practice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.