For CSSi, I spend most of my time speaking with sponsors about specific challenges to enrollment for a wide variety of clinical trials. Once we have an opportunity to share how we would approach enrolling each individual program with its own unique challenges, the team at CSSi gathers. Among many things, we begin to zero in on who the patient is, how old they are, and what their gender and media habits may be specific to their geographic location. Ultimately, we find ourselves in the patient’s shoes. We realize that, unfortunately, many patients don’t fully understand what a clinical trial is, let alone consider it an option for themselves.
A little education can go a long way with patients who are not familiar with many of their options, including clinical trials. Once someone understands that a wealth of information is offered prior to enrollment into a trial, it can give the patient a new perspective. What is known about the drug or device so far in terms of side effects or risks, as well as potential benefits and efficacy, are all things the patient will learn if they are open to learning more about trials. An overview of the clinical research process can deepen understanding. It may even spark a realization that the development of new medications and devices is vital to the future treatment of many conditions and illnesses. This is one of our largest goals at CSSi. Providing vehicles by which people (patients, loved ones, physicians, advocacy groups) can gain a deeper understanding of clinical research is central to what we achieve.
Patients are sometimes motivated by the fact that other therapies have failed to adequately treat their condition. Yet, back in my days as a clinical research coordinator, I noticed that many would agree that “more research is needed” and that participation was one way to do something positive to further the development of much needed therapies. This inner “call to action” is one of the reasons that I loved working with clinical research patients. The more educated a patient was about the process, the specific expectations of enrollment within a program, and how they would be given vital information throughout the trial, the more motivated they are to fully consider a clinical trial as an option.
The clinical research option needs to be on the table with all the other options a patient has for an educated choice the patient can feel good about. Part of the fun of working with CSSi is finding new and effective ways of placing research trials on the patient's table of options. The approach is rarely the same for any two sites, but the goal is always the same. Let’s make sure the potentially eligible patients have access to the information about the clinical trial as an option. Let’s provide them with the clearest message about the trial so that they are in a position to learn more and gain a deeper understanding of research as a whole, and a specific trial as an option.
Though each of us at CSSi have different roles, we never lose sight of the fact that our collective efforts remove barriers that prevent clinical programs from fully enrolling in a timely fashion. Many of us at CSSi once dispensed study medications with our own hands to patients we helped to carefully educate about all of their options. Now, we help sites do that by sharing information in a careful, thoughtful, and effective way so that patients have the opportunity to learn more about clinical trials.
I may spend my days speaking with many sponsors about CSSi’s global patient recruitment capabilities and drug and device regulatory expertise, but “at the end of the day” (a much used phrase in this office), we want to see programs succeed for the betterment of future patient treatment. The experience I had with patients was priceless, and some of those patients deeply touched my life. Bringing that experience to CSSi and drawing on it deepens the resolve to inform, educate and ultimately enroll patients into programs because: More Research Is Needed.