ATLANTA – November 8, 2022 – Research Revolution, a clinical trials conference organized by Florence Healthcare, welcomed more than 300 people to Atlanta, Georgia, November 1-3. During those three days, a clear trend emerged: the industry has only about 38% of the capacity needed to bring new cures to patients for cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. As a result, research sites, sponsors, Contract Research Organizations (CROs), technology vendors, and patient advocates must collaborate to run clinical trials more efficiently.
“Multiple stakeholders across the industry are advocating for changes in how research gets done,” said Catherine Gregor, Chief Clinical Trials Officer for Florence Healthcare. “We are collectively calling for the elimination of operational bottlenecks that slow down studies and negatively impact patient access to clinical trials.”
“The number of registered clinical trials grew by 37,000 from 2021-2022, and the number of trials has increased every year from 2017-2022,” said Gregor. “If this trend continues, research sites won’t have the capacity to keep up with the pace of innovation. We need to focus on technology that empowers sites and emphasizes collaboration.”
Conference attendees said they want technology platforms that help them work together on study initiation, document and data exchange, remote monitoring, and patient engagement.
“To solve the capacity gap in clinical research, we need to enable research sites to do their best work,” says Florence Healthcare CEO Ryan Jones. “Research sites are on the front lines meeting with patients every day. That means sites need the power to maintain their own technology platforms–but they also need the power to link seamlessly with sponsors and CROs.”
Florence Healthcare plans to launch a new version of SiteLink, their site enablement platform, in 2023 to meet these needs. The new SiteLink will focus on document and data exchange between sites, sponsors, and CROs throughout the study lifecycle, beginning with feasibility.
Research Revolution attendees also emphasized that technology is inadequate if it doesn’t increase patient access and inclusion. Clinical research leaders like Tiffany Whitlow of Acclinate, Danielle Mitchell of Black Women in Clinical Research, and Carlos Orantes of Alcanza Clinical Research spoke at the conference on how BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and lower-income patients are often underrepresented in clinical trials.
“It’s not enough to run trials faster,” said Gregor. “We also need to make sure we’re reaching patients representative of real-world populations. This will mean relying on different types of sites and moving research further into communities where patients live. Additionally, we have to focus on building trust and health literacy in local communities, long before patients need to enroll in trials.”
Several speakers, including keynote speaker and former Food and Drug Administration leader Amy Abernethy, highlighted how technology can help research sites gather real-world evidence and reach patients who can’t afford to travel to major hospitals or academic medical centers. They also expressed the importance of engaging patients who lack access to technology.
Dr. Christina Brennan, another keynote speaker and Senior Vice-President of Clinical Research at Northwell Health, pointed out that hospitals and health systems often have smaller clinics, pharmacies, and home health nurses within their own networks. They can use these resources to run decentralized trials and reach a greater array of patients.
Many speakers shared that bringing more cures to more patients will require a mix of technology, community-building, and accessible local sites.
“Research Revolution confirmed that everyone in clinical research has a common goal: bringing cures to more patients, more efficiently,” said Jones. “If we continue collaborating and challenging each other the way we did this week, I have no doubt we can double the output of clinical research this decade.”
The Research Revolution conference will return in 2023, and Florence Healthcare will continue to share articles and videos from industry leaders throughout the upcoming year.
About Florence Healthcare
Florence Healthcare’s clinical trial software helps more than 10,000 research sites in 45 countries manage their documents, data, and workflows. The Florence Healthcare™ platform also provides remote access so sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs) can collaborate with their sites around the world. Florence Healthcare users now perform 5.8 million remote monitoring activities each month. To learn more, visit florencehc.com.
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