There are many potential barriers that affect the recruitment of oncology patients into clinical trials. Most commonly, the narrow window of opportunity is often the most significant roadblock for patients who would only be accepted into a study at a precise point in time if all eligibility criteria are met.
Coupled with archaic systems, lack of data collation and no central communication systems, it can be a very frustrating experience for patients who wish to be part of a study, particularly in a community setting.
Below we explore some of the top challenges faced by patients looking to enroll in studies, and how using technology, we can create a more seamless patient experience.
Process and System Failures.
A significant barrier to patient entry into a trial stems from the protocols surrounding the eligibility requirements. In a study published in JCO Oncology Practice, it was noted by multiple oncology specialists that the nature of available trials limited enrollment, and many studies are not considered suitable treatments in a community-based setting. This was evident throughout the study, in examples that were highlighted by the specialists that showcased the lack of availability of trials reviewing adjuvant therapy or treatments for first-line metastatic disease, which would be most appropriate for their patients. The available studies concentrated on higher-line therapy and were not beneficial to their patients.
Additionally, tight inclusion and exclusion criteria further increase the difficulty of enrolling patients to trials, along with the lack of resources and support available in community-based settings. Lacking financial assistance for patients can also act as a roadblock for patients with a typical insurance plan, as these are unlikely to cover the enrollment into clinical oncology studies.
Moreover, other studies published in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology have shown that the perception of clinical studies among community oncologists can differ from those of academic oncologists. This highlights how barriers in enrolling patients may also relate to the practice setting and the individual interactions between patients and oncologists in a community setting.
Without clear communications and an integrated house for data collection, it can be difficult for staff and internal teams to keep up with current information regarding available trials. Specific details often can change, causing eligibility criteria to be updated and making it harder to find the right patients for that particular study. In a community setting, this can be made more challenging by the complexity and variety of cancers that oncologists treat. Continually, the narrow window of opportunity also means that there are many time constraints that affect the enrollment of a patient.
Aside from the factors listed above, there may also be enrollment complications as a result of supplementary requirements imposed by a clinical study. These include the need to potentially travel long-distance, the perception of clinical studies being experimental and the potential need for further procedures post-participation.
Technology Promoting Change.
The above challenges provide clear evidence that to increase patient enrollment in cancer trials; there needs to be a further development of and focus on creating a seamless patient experience in a community setting. Better strategies need to be introduced to ensure the comfortability and ease of access for patients, in turn boosting enrollment.
We know that one way we can start working to prioritize patients is by introducing new technologies that make patient enrollment seamless from start to finish. Deep Lens works to provide a truly groundbreaking approach to clinical trial recruitment and increase your patient enrollment using our AI-based technology, VIPER.
VIPER enhances the patient experience by quickly enrolling eligible patients into potentially life-saving treatment studies. The technology aims to relieve staff burden, and actively uses patient data to accurately match patients with trials, ensuring no window of opportunity is missed.
Discover how Deep Lens’ VIPER can work to provide a seamless experience and overcome the challenges faced by oncology patients in a community setting.