The ACCC 47th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit lived up to its theme of “New Models in Clinical Trials and Cancer Research.” Industry leaders came together for a virtual event to discuss software and resources built for success in a new age in cancer clinical programs.
COVID-19 led to several setbacks and unprecedented shifts in healthcare. Still, given what we learned at ACCC, we’re excited to see what oncology research is doing to move beyond the pandemic and evolve. Here are five lessons we took away from the 2021 ACCC Annual Meeting.
- Success stories are appearing.
We saw success in automating and improving the process of matching and enrolling patients. Innovative tools are being used with EMRs to display potential studies that might be appropriate so that physicians can discuss with patients in real time during visits. This can majorly improve communications, with physicians offering patients treatment options after diagnosis.
- Cancer centers are increasingly using patient-trial matching platforms to help identify and enroll patients in their networks.
- Another organization collaborated with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) to directly deliver Standard of Care (SOC) guidelines into its Oncology EMR. The goal is to ease excessive physician documentation and more rapidly prompt and consider clinical trials when patients need new therapy options.
- Telehealth can help the clinical research process.
With administrative, clinical research staff going remote in most cancer centers due to concerns around the pandemic, telehealth makes it easier for clinical coordinators to be in two places simultaneously. After an informed-consent video conversation, a physician investigator can transition the recorded visit to a coordinator who may be working remotely.
This virtual environment also led to shifts in policies and processes that enable the use of eRegulatory and eIRB systems that permit the digital signature of patients and physicians. This can help alleviate some of the tedious manual and onerous legacy tasks such as wet-ink requirements.
- Patient retention is as important as recruitment and patient matching.
Retention is an important metric that requires measurement. Clinicians see the benefits of Electronic Reported Outcomes (ePRO) software tools loaded on digital devices. These tools allow patients to provide input—in the comfort of their own homes—on essential metrics such as medication compliance, vital signs, symptoms, and quality of life.
- With trials underway again, we need to move faster as patients are sicker now.
Initially, in the pandemic, oncology clinical research experienced significant declines as cancer centers and practices completely halted or paused enrollment, and patients avoided going to clinics. A recent New York Times story noted how clinicians are now seeing many patients at advanced cancer stages due to a halt in screenings. Cancer clinical trials are experiencing a rebound to near pre-pandemic levels, including new protocol development and patient participation.
We also are seeing a rise in more genomic-driven treatment options. While this promises to help bring precision therapies to patients, it potentially adds to clinical trial complexity. Regardless of rebounds or complexity, it is incumbent upon us to find new ways to speed up the process. We must do what we can to automate and simplify patient enrollment and treatment. The patients are out there; we need to find them quicker.
- We continued to be inspired and motivated.
Today, we see great potential in working to evolve and innovate the clinical research process. As Inteliquet™ becomes the automation solution behind site feasibility and patient matching, we can help patients, and their physicians, provide more therapy options and enhance the quality of care.
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