John Blakeley shares his predictions for improving patient-centricity with eCOA in 2016
Q: How significant is the role of eCOA in the patient-centric paradigm?
John Blakeley: I think it’s very clear that the entire premise of eCOA is to collect data from patients, whether that is from the patient themselves, or the caregiver, or a medical professional. The whole point of the exercise is to gather data that can only come from the patient. I think, as the industry generally starts to think more about patient centricity, eCOA has to become recognized as a fundamental element in patient centricity. After all, you can’t get that data from other means. It can only really come from the patient.
Q: How do you see the role of patients in clinical trial design continuing to evolve over the next 12 months?
JB: I think that is a great question. It strikes me that the eCOA landscape is changing very quickly, which has become possible for two reasons. One, the demands of the scientific community can now be matched by the capability of technology. As the two become more in line, it is becoming more and more possible to get newer, more expansive, broader data sets directly from the patient. I think this evolution will continue apace over the next 12 months. I also think during that time we are going to see different types of data being requested, from the very early stages in a trial, from the point of view of getting the patient physically into the trial, through consent and screening and all of those early stages, all the way through to even picking up empirical data from activity sensors, blood glucose monitors, etc. I think we are going to see a great deal of change in the next 12-18 months.
Q: What are today’s challenges when it comes to ensuring truly patient-centric trials?
JB: I think from my point of view, the biggest challenge is to make sure that the technology exists that allows research to put the patient at the center of the trial. It’s all very well to come up with great ideas about what you want to collect. But then it is not productive to discover the technology is not available to actually get what you need. So one of the important challenges then is to make sure that the scientific community really recognizes the capabilities and limitations of the technology. Because there are certainly limitations; and there will always be limitations. It’s about making sure that the scientific need can be achieved inside the specific capabilities of each element of the technology. I think the next biggest challenge that the industry is going to face is to figure out ways to get multiple technology components focused on the patient at the same time, and to find ways to make that as easy as possible for the patient. Because we are running the risk that we are taking burden away from sites, and actually placing an element of that burden on the patient. As we all know, patients are human beings and human beings have different levels of motivation. The super-motivated people will be great at managing all the elements of the technology, which is great because you will get those highly motivated people’s data very easily. There are others where their motivation is kind of high one day and low the next day, and you then end up with a situation where you’ve got a bolus of data that may be inconsistent. We have got to be careful that we manage the burden on the patient in a really, really careful and responsible way.
John Blakeley has spent more than 25 years building and shaping marketing and sales teams in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sectors, and has extensive knowledge of the eCOA sector.
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