At Velocity Clinical Research, we prioritize the voices of clinical trial participants, largely via the Participant Advisory Committee (PAC). Our PAC, which brings together a diverse group of past and current trial participants from across the U.S., offers a unique lens into the clinical research process. In this edition, we’ll unpack key insights gleaned from our June 2023 PAC meeting, highlighting recommendations to streamline processes, improve study procedures, optimize waiting times, and overhaul study compensation.
Eliminating Redundancies: Digitizing Participant Screening
Trial participants are patient, but tolerance for repetitive questions during prescreening, screening, and study visits wanes. The PAC advocates for a digitized system that allows participants to input health information in advance, to be verified by coordinators at the screening stage. A user-friendly app or onsite computer system can empower participants to verify their details with confidence.
Enhancing Understanding: Transparency in Study Procedures
Our PAC members seek deeper comprehension of the study procedures they undergo, including blood draws and EKGs. Addressing their curiosity and facilitating their justification of participation to skeptics can be achieved through informative online resources that clarify the purpose and necessity of these procedures.
Embracing Digital Solutions: The Case for Mobile Apps
The transition from cumbersome study-provided devices to mobile apps for e-diaries and questionnaires is enthusiastically endorsed by the PAC. However, it’s essential to retain a stock of loaner devices for participants less digitally inclined, ensuring equal research accessibility.
Improving Patient Experience: Transforming Waiting Times
Dosing wait times can be taxing, but with transparency and creature comforts, the PAC believes this process can be significantly improved. Provision of estimated wait times, refreshments beyond just water, Wi-Fi, television, and a comfortable environment are all small changes that can have a big impact. Plus, the availability of blankets to ward off chills can significantly enhance the experience.
Addressing Compensation Concerns
Contrary to what one might assume, compensation is a complex issue. The PAC has highlighted numerous challenges with reloadable debit cards, including confusing expiration dates, underwhelming websites, and hidden fees. The PAC proposes transitioning to digital payment platforms like PayPal, Venmo, or CashApp as more participant-friendly alternatives.
Moreover, participants want prompt compensation. The PAC strongly suggests rapid compensation upon task completion, emphasizing that extended waits in an era of instant gratification are far from ideal.