September 29, 2021
World Heart Day: Why We Need to Talk about Women and Cardiovascular Trials
Although men suffer from heart disease more than women, a little-known fact is that cardiovascular disease is the top cause of death for women worldwide. Heart disease is often experienced in different ways in women in comparison to men. This may lead to women’s symptoms being misdiagnosed and delays in women seeking help.
Between 2010 and 2017, a review of 740 completed cardiovascular clinical trials found women accounted for just 38% of participants – despite an industry-wide push for equal gender representation over the last decade. And recent research led by Dr Jeske van Diemen, of Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands, showed that recruiting women for cardiovascular studies is harder because there are extra barriers to recruitment.
In the analysis, both men and women had similar motivations to participate in clinical trials, including access to best possible care and altruistic reasons, such as helping medical progress.
There were common obstacles cited as well between men and women that may limit participation in clinical trials, including time constraints and concerns about unfavorable outcomes. It is interesting that women perceive a higher risk from participation versus men. Women also referred to transport limitations as a reason for not taking part in trials more often.
World Heart Day
The theme of World Heart Day this year is “Use Heart to Connect,” with three pillars of equity, prevention and community. Using these pillars and considering unequal cardiovascular trial participation for women, let’s look at how Teckro can help.
Heart beating designed by our own internal team
Delivering optimal prevention, diagnosis, and treatment requires easy and quick access to digital technologies and data. Teckro’s easy-to-use mobile app reduces the barriers for new investigators and sites to engage in the clinical research process and allows them to deliver clinical research as a care option to patients in community settings. Teckro fosters real-time collaboration between sites and sponsors, allowing sponsors to give investigators the information they need to enroll and engage female patients and all underrepresented populations.
Teckro’s vision is that every physician will be engaged in clinical research – from those who lead trials as principal investigators to those who refer patients to studies from community practices. It is also important to Teckro that all stakeholders – study coordinators, medical monitors, CRAs, investigators – work in concert to optimize patient care and assure maximum study safety and quality. By creating optimal experiences for patients, we can positively impact new participant perceptions of risk and engage more participants in clinical research.
Addressing the Gender Gap
Cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading cause of death, taking the lives of 18.6 million people each year. Awareness supports prevention. The focus is looking after your heart by eating a healthy diet and attending check-ups, which can be especially important considering visits delayed during the pandemic.
This World Heart Day, we believe that a bigger push needs to be made to address the clinical trial gender gap by helping women understand the benefits of taking part in trials. Despite years of effort, women are still less likely to volunteer for trials and could be missing out on this valuable care option. More diverse trials ensure that study findings are applicable to our entire population, and we see Teckro as a means to involve and engage a broader group of investigators, sites, and ultimately patients of all genders, ages, ethnicities, and races in clinical trials.