If you’re planning on incorporating virtual elements in your clinical trial design, you might’ve already encountered the challenge: finding vendors is no walk in the park.
My colleague, Maya, recently expressed her observations in an article about decentralized trials in Europe – she believes the main challenge there is the lack of vendors. Add to that the fact virtual modalities are hard to map and analyze in order to build a clinical trial strategy (how do you even begin to scale the data from public registers?) and you have a complicated situation on your hands.
- ARR for virtual and hybrid trials in your indication;
- Investigators who already have experience with such protocols;
- Countries where virtual modalities are approved in your indication;
- The insights of local experts – this one is very important because cultural specifics in certain countries can make recruitment for VCTs even more difficult.
The vendors challenge, on the other hand, is something that we’re now tackling with more focused effort. So, how do you search for virtual trial providers? Providers of eConsent, ePRO, wearables for remote monitoring, home healthcare solutions, etc.
First things first, know your keywords.
A year ago when we started gathering data for what would eventually become The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Trial Providers, we anticipated that Covid-19 would radically change the way trials are conducted – and in many ways, it did.
CROs are expected to be more agile than ever and have a contingency plan in place from the get-go. If you’re in charge of clinical trial planning you need to know in advance how you’re going to keep operations going and support patients remotely in case of another lockdown or even a new threat to public safety.
This is where working with the right vendors becomes crucial. But in order to start working with them, you need to find them first.
Our team was not surprised to find out that searching for ‘decentralized trials’ was not the way to go. Although technically the correct term, ‘decentralized trials’ is not a popular Google keyword by any means – with a volume of 850 average monthly searches it falls behind ‘virtual trials’ (1, 580 average monthly searches). Other keywords, variations of ‘virtual trials’ also work better. Including combinations of a CRO name and the term ‘virtual trials’.
Bottom line is, though it may not technically be the correct term for your trial, especially if you are only incorporating certain decentralized elements, using the word ‘virtual’ in your searches is going to yield better results.
Side note: the statistics are relevant for the following countries – USA, UK, DE, FR, ES, SWITZERLAND, PL, IT.
Remote nursing solutions are not designed for VCTs. Mostly.
When composing our Guide, we gave preferential treatment to remote nursing and healthcare solutions specifically designed to support clinical trials. There are dozens upon dozens of home healthcare agencies in the USA but not all of them are created with clinical trial patients in mind.
That doesn’t mean you can’t contact them and eventually agree upon a partnership. But most such agencies exist to support elderly patients and likely have no experience with clinical trial protocols.
Things in Europe might look even worse. Not only is the language a barrier to finding local agencies but very few of them are specifically designed to support research.
In The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Trial Vendors, we give priority to those that are but at the end of the day, you might need to resort to research-naive agencies because of the limited options. This is what my colleague Maya had in mind when she talked about the lack of vendors in Europe.
It’s a jungle out there.
I am not exaggerating when I say that there is a shocking number of companies that make it very difficult to understand what their product is. We could not include some vendors in our Ultimate Guide because we couldn’t understand from their website what their product or service actually is and the point of the Guide was to make vendor selection easier.
Often, it can take you more than 10 minutes on a company’s website to have an adequate understanding of their product as it’s not immediately apparent.
The ‘veterans’ – companies that have been out there for some time now – typically have nailed down their product presentation. It’s also good to see newcomers with stellar home pages and a clear message. But when you’re short on time and you’re in the depths of vendor research it’s disheartening to see how many products and services remain obscure.
Ultimately, you’re looking for specific things and a website should answer your questions upfront before you even get to speak with a company representative.
Our main goal at TrialHub is to spare you tedious manual research so you can focus on building a winning trial strategy with all the data you need readily available. Naturally, we wanted to do the same in the area of virtual trial vendors. Spare yourself weeks of research – in The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Trial Vendors we provide you with comprehensive lists of:
- Home healthcare services
- Health ride providers
- Remote patient monitoring solutions
- ePRO/eCOA technologies
- eConsent providers
- Digital patient recruitment services
- Telehealth providers
- Virtual/Remote trial providers
And if you are a vendor or you know of a company we have missed, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know – we update The Guide often and we can include the company in our next update. Just send us a message at email@example.com.