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June 23, 2022

Deploying Teckro to Advance Sustainability, DEI and Smarter Clinical Trials

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      Jeanne Hecht

      Jeanne Hecht

      Founder & CEO at JTH Consulting & Associates


    On recent business trips to Bangalore, India, and Orlando, Florida, I enjoyed conversations about advancing diversity, social determinants of health, and clinical research as a care option (CRAACO). Newer topics gaining traction since the pandemic included environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); and the quest to design smarter trials. These dovetailed nicely with the way Teckro – a mobile, digital clinical trial solution that has been used at 30,000 study sites around the world – is supporting companies’ ESG strategies. This was the focus when I joined Malia Lewin, Teckro’s global head of strategy, on the Totally Clinical podcast in April.

    Malia and I chatted about how Teckro supports all three elements of ESG:

    • Environmental: Here, Teckro streamlines communications, reducing CRA travel, the need for printing paper documents, and shipping costs. The app improves trial efficiency via protocol automation and helps "take the trial to the patient." This supports stakeholder efforts at the point of care, regardless of location, service provider or research site – factors that are critical to the success of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) during the pandemic and beyond. The boost to quality and efficiency with Teckro extend to all trial formats – building the environmental reputations of all involved.

    • Social: By supporting DCTs, which can increase diversity in trials, Teckro advances the social element of ESG. By making it easier for patients to join trials, DCTs can reach patients who live far from study sites, as well as those with mobility, cognitive and economic challenges.

    • Governance (and site engagement): By enabling better communications with sites, Teckro improves governance and data quality. Benefits include better decision-making; less friction between sites, sponsors and CROs; easy access to knowledgeable resources; greater job satisfaction; fewer errors; easier onboarding of new site staff members; and potentially reduced turnover.

    A Strategic Tool for Smarter Trials

    I just completed a paper that analyzes the impacts of Teckro to support successful DEI and clinical research as a care option (CRAACO). I look at how Teckro empowers inexperienced sites and personnel, including new principal investigators. Resources include on-demand training materials, real-time access to study-related advice, and a digitized and searchable protocol.

    Users have said that Teckro is like having a “virtual coach” at hand.

    Designing smarter trials is another important role for Teckro, which I discuss in the paper. Here, this is helping move the needle on health equity by advancing human-centered design processes. These aim to understand the perspectives of the people who will use the design, and purpose build solutions for their needs.

    The communication capabilities of Teckro can be used both to keep research staff informed and to survey them for feedback on possible clinical study design. By giving physician researchers and site staff more of a voice in protocol development, this is likely to be more realistic and need fewer amendments, wasting less time chasing unrealistic patient populations, and making sites more vested in the trials because they are helping to shape protocol designs.

    Ways to add patient perspectives to health equity efforts include recognizing that:

    • Workforce diversification does not replace the need to harness expertise of minority patients
    • Qualitative research and human-centered design can be advanced by working with experienced consultants or building in-house expertise
    • Health equity solutions can be informed via feedback – which should be compensated – from marginalized patients
    • Teckro can support health equity by facilitating feedback on trial design from clinical trialists, staff and patients

    As I also summarize in the paper, the takeaway here is that Teckro has a promising role in supporting DCTs, which in turn can improve clinical trial diversity and healthcare equity. Teckro supports sustainability, including reducing the need for travel, paper print-outs and shipping. It also empowers inexperienced sites and personnel, improves site engagement and informs patient-centric trial design. By driving evolution of smart clinical trials and strengthening DEI and CRAACO efforts, Teckro can potentially benefit all clinical trial stakeholders.

    Get the ESG analysis
    Jeanne Hecht

    Jeanne Hecht

    Founder & CEO at JTH Consulting & Associates


    Jeanne Hecht is a Global Business Executive and Board Member with deep experience leading successful teams across mature and emerging markets within the product development, pharma services and life sciences space. She is passionate about elevating business leaders and utilizing networks to drive businesses and advance medicine.

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