“We have to work on giving patients more choices in clinical trials, including at the protocol level,” says Dr. Agnieszka Gackowska, Senior Director for Global Site Solutions at Parexel. She is a big advocate of using decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) technology and concepts to increase participation by making it easier for patients to engage and stay involved for the duration of the study.
Most experts agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way clinical trials are conducted, and Gackowska belongs to that group. Like the majority, she also believes that many of these changes will persist long after the pandemic is remembered. “There’s no going back from the way we have redefined clinical trials” to accommodate the constraints imposed by COVID, she says.
Gackowska acknowledges that the initial financial considerations associated with DCTs could make trials more costly for the clinical trial industry, but it will more than pay for itself in the end. When used properly, DCTs result in “faster recruitment and higher retention, so overall costs go down,” she says.
The future is now: discussions about decentralized clinical trials, diversity and inclusion
Join Gackowska and members of Parexel’s Patient and Site Advisory Council during ACRP 2021 this month. You will share insights and actionable steps to successfully conduct a DCT and ensure the best results from a location, patient and sponsor point of view.
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However, the industry needs to do a good job of letting everyone involved understand the logic, benefits and costs of the changes that come with adopting technologies for performing more test operations outside of traditional stationary locations. “These changes have to be accepted by everyone involved, especially patients,” says Gackowska.
Gackowska is excited to share her insights and learn from other attendees as she joins a panel discussion on DCTs for the May 2021 Round of ACRP Virtual Conference Topics. “I give my heart to this role,” she says. “I feel passionate about our mission.”
The panel will look at the pros and cons of DCTs and home visits, among other things, says Gackowska. She views the volume of home visits as part of clinical studies, but notes that some patients may prefer to go to a location or otherwise participate in a study. “We have to make sure that all patients are satisfied,” she advises with conducting the study.
Author: Michael Causey