The moral argument is natural and powerful, but also from a scientific point of view, improving diversity in the patient population and clinical trial workforce is the way to go, says John Potthoff, CEO of Elligo Health Research.
Proof of the effectiveness of a drug for the entire population and not just for a well-represented subgroup is “difficult to achieve” if a broader range of patients is not included in clinical studies, says Potthoff.
It is vital for the clinical trials industry to better design trials with an underrepresented population in mind and “make them more accessible to all,” adds Potthoff. He is a big proponent of using clinical trials as a treatment option, especially in areas of the country where there is no access to quality health care.
“We find that including studies as part of universal health care makes these areas easier to access,” notes Potthoff. He also calls for an increase in minority representation in the workforce for clinical studies. “It helps build trust and use relationships” to encourage traditionally suspicious or reluctant patient populations to participate in a clinical trial, he says.
Last month, Elligo Health Research announced a partnership with Laguna Clinical Research Associates. The companies will partner with approximately 20 emergency care locations in different communities – with Laguna providing medical services and clinical research as a care option through Elligo for various patient populations – while focusing on bringing together clinical experts with high quality research infrastructure to provide a clinical solution for the Conducting Studies to Improve Patient Access and Engagement Your new model engages research-ready healthcare providers and patients to expand these resources while providing access to standards-based eSource data directly from clinical research locations.
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The key to the success of such efforts, Potthoff says, is emphasizing to the community that it is a long-term partnership, not something that is set up for a single attempt. “It has to be a sustained” effort for the local community to embrace, he adds.
Author: Michael Causey