Icon rolls out some new patient-consent tech with a focus on education

Icon ($ICLR), at work on new approaches to educating potential study participants, launched a new technology designed to inform patients of the possible risks and benefits of a clinical trial before they meet with a physician.

Called the Firecrest Patient Portal, Icon's new offering is designed to present patients with all they need to know about a study well before they have to make a decision on participation, giving them time to review the details and formulate questions, the company said.

The online portal, part of Icon's broader informatics network, allows patients to find active trials, complete questionnaires and pick convenient sites. Investigators can log in on the back end and connect with them, answering queries and putting a human face on what can sometimes be an alienating process for patients, Icon said.

"The opportunity for education about the trial, before a face-to-face meeting with their doctor, helps patients make truly informed decisions about participation," Icon Vice President Frances Abeton said in a statement. "Improved patient comprehension of a trial can reflect positively in patients' relationships with investigators and subsequently lead to better recruitment and retention rates."

Meanwhile, Icon is working with behavioral scientists at Carnegie Mellon University to study how to improve the process of patient consent, sponsoring a series of research projects to better understand communication barriers between investigators and subjects. The CRO is hoping to test, measure and validate methods of explaining trials with an eye on maximizing patient trust and making the enrollment process work better for all parties.

- read the statement