For Oncology Trial Success Sponsors Must Empower Sites with Modern Navigation Tools

Jul 22, 2021

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Every day, millions of people across the world navigate their lives – both physically and figuratively, using applications on their smartphones. By entering a destination, we can get from point A to point B faster and with greater efficiency. The days of opening up a paper map are far behind us, with the convenience and accuracy of real-time route information at the touch of a button. And this allows us to operate our lives more seamlessly and with greater confidence.

As consumers, I’d say most of us are not prepared to take out our old paper road atlas. Now that we have mobile phones in our pockets, we benefit from easy, searchable, up-to-date navigation based on current maps, roads, and tolls. Crowdsourced knowledge regarding traffic patterns helps us understand when we need to leave and reroutes us if we make a wrong turn.

Here at Teckro, we provide the same capabilities for those navigating clinical studies. Our platform provides a parallel consumer experience with mobile navigation apps. Think of Teckro as a complete navigation system for sites and sponsors that blends easily searchable, up-to-date trial instructions with crowdsourced knowledge to communicate course corrections and other vital trial updates – all seamlessly accessible from a smartphone.

This means that sites are no longer beholden to the equivalent of a paper road atlas, including study information trapped in paper files and desktop computers. They don’t need to wait long periods for answers or instructions via phone that may come hours or days after they needed to make a decision.

"Are we there yet?" Sites, sponsors and SatNavs.

With Teckro, sites have the power to query study documents instantly at the point of care. And they have a dedicated communication channel with select sponsor experts via secure messaging in real time. Sponsors gain valuable insights into common questions so they can proactively push communications to research personnel, “rerouting” them toward a path that is informed by the experience of their peers. These types of simple improvements lead to better outcomes for the research and ultimately, for patients.

The Challenge of Oncology Trials

Based on my experience in oncology, I see Teckro being especially useful when it comes to navigating the complex map of cancer studies when sites and sponsors have lost their bearings. Oncology trials account for around 35% of all pipeline products currently in development and on average they are longer, slower, and more complex and expensive than studies in other therapeutic areas.  

In addition, patient recruitment can be much more challenging. There are stringent qualifying criteria for oncology trials, with narrow inclusion and broad exclusion criteria. There are also a lot of oncology trials recruiting patients, making enrollment targets even harder to hit. That’s why sites need a real-time navigation system like Teckro. If, as a physician, you have a patient in front of you and you think they might be a candidate for a study, you need immediate access to the protocol.

As sites progress through the study over the next 3.2 years (which is the average for an oncology study – almost twice the duration of non-oncology studies), they will need to access the protocol for every patient visit. It’s just not practical to go back to your office to find the paper file or to search on your desktop for a PDF – and most study staff just don’t have the time to seek out the latest protocol.

And when it comes to sponsors, Teckro allows them visibility into requests for information across sites. This means they can analyze patterns, proactively pushing information across the platform so sites can head off potential issues, improve execution and positively impact trial performance. Real-time information that increases efficiency and saves time – getting from A to B has never been so easy!

Engaging the Whole Ecosystem

When I started working with the life sciences industry nearly 20 years ago, we lamented then about 5% patient participation in cancer clinical trials. We encouraged members of the healthcare ecosystem to band together for greater patient participation. This wasn’t only to drive research, but to support cancer patients with the superior standard of care one receives as a trial participant.

Today, depending on who you ask, we are at just under a 10% participation rate. Although better, I still believe we can do more.

By leveraging the power of the complete ecosystem, ranging from physicians to nurses in clinical research settings to those who have the power to refer patients from local and community clinics, we can build a larger universe of candidates for clinical research. It is our ultimate vision at Teckro that every physician is involved in clinical research, from more principal investigators to immediate access to protocols for more local physician referrals.  

By enabling this larger universe with the Teckro platform, we will activate all key stakeholders and drive faster, safer, more efficient clinical research trials. In turn, this will fuel rapid deployment of new discoveries for optimal patient outcomes. With Teckro, every clinical trial stakeholder can easily navigate their study path with convenient, accessible information and seamless communication when and where they need it.

 

  

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