PPD to run ‘patient concierge’ trial service

A doctor examining a patient's eyes
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As biopharmas continue to struggle to recruit and retain patients in their clinical trials, PPD and Acurian are hoping to make the process easier by running a new “concierge service.”

Major CRO PPD says this service, with similar ideas being run by several other contract firms, serves as a single point of contact to “proactively guide a patient through trial participation and manage trial logistics.”

So-called concierges are assigned to patients for the duration of a study and check in with them regularly.

“That ongoing interaction helps to build a one-to-one relationship, enabling a concierge to better assess and address patient motivation, satisfaction and other non-medical issues, while facilitating services aimed at retaining the patient in the trial,” PPD explained in a statement.

On the specifics, these services include things like appointment reminders and follow-ups, trial experience feedback, trial information, device training and assistance, transportation and reimbursement support and medication reminders.

The service is slated to come into place later this year and is being done in collaboration with Acurian, which specializes in getting patients into trials.

“We’re introducing this innovative concierge service to help patients navigate the complexity of clinical trials, while providing support designed to enable them to better understand trials and the trial process, participation logistics and technologies,” said Niklas Morton, SVP of site and patient access for PPD.

“Our patient-centric service focuses on providing proactive trial guidance and an improved patient experience for individuals seeking life-changing treatments. This new service directly places the patient at the forefront of how we approach a trial.”

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Trial enrollment and retention are major issues for CROs and their clients. Many patients do not enter into trials and those that do can find it bewildering, which can lead to high dropout rates or patients not getting involved at all.

The idea is that if patients feel more engaged, and companies get to know them better, this should help iron out dropout rates and help prospective trial participants feel more confident about signing up.

“The patient concierge service will encourage greater patient engagement and retention, while helping to decrease a site’s administrative responsibilities, with the goal of expediting trial timelines, enhancing site relationships and, ultimately, reducing costs,” said Roger Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Acurian.

“With less time spent by site staff and study co-ordinators on the tasks handled by the patient concierge, more of their time can be devoted to patient care and completing the trial within expected timeframes. This also contributes to patients feeling valued when participating in a trial, as we seek to increase their overall satisfaction and interest in continuing.”