P42: In-Person Versus Remote Clinical Trial Activities: The Evolving Landscape and Patient Preferences
Kelly M. Dumais
Director, eCOA Science & Consulting
Clario United States
The objective of this study was to understand patient preferences for in-person versus remote/virtual conduct of clinical trial activities.
Participants from the US were recruited via an online patient recruitment agency from December 2020 to February 2021 and were surveyed online regarding their preferences for in-person versus virtual/remote activities in clinical research.
Participants (N=237) were 77% female and had an average age of 52 years (range 18-91 years).
Participants were asked what they do when they need to see a doctor: go in person to a clinic, have a video call, or both. About half of participants (51%) indicated that they do both, with 7% reporting they only have a video call, and 39% reporting they only go in person. 3% reported that they do not go to the doctor. This is in contrast to results from the same question in a survey conducted pre-COVID from December 2019 to January 2020, in which only 12% of participants indicated that they do both, <1% indicating they only have a video call, and 81% reporting that they only go in person.
Most participants (74%) who reported having video calls with their doctor enjoy having a video call instead of going to a clinic. This finding was consistent across therapeutic areas, including CNS, Oncology, Dermatology, Respiratory, and Psychiatric Disorders (range=70% to 80%).
About half of participants (54%) would prefer to have clinical trial materials (e.g. medical devices, medication) delivered to their house versus only 5% preferring to collect them from the clinic. The other 41% would be happy with either option. More than half of participants (59%) would prefer to use a self-monitoring device at home to take regular readings such as blood pressure versus only 5% preferring to have regular readings taken at a clinic by a doctor. The other 35% would be happy with either option.
These results indicate that remote video calls with doctors are on the rise, and that most participants enjoy video calls instead of in-clinic visits. Similarly, participants preferred remote versus in-clinic options for other clinical trial activities, such as home delivery of clinical trial devices/medication and home monitoring of blood pressure.
An increase in virtual healthcare visits and the preference for virtual/remote activities is likely a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing need to provide alternate approaches to continue patient care while keeping patients safe. However, with a quarter of participants reporting not enjoying video visits with their doctors, it is important to consider the needs and preferences of all patients when designing clinical trials. Providing optionality for patients along with the proper support, training, and technology will be critical for successful remote or virtual clinical trial activities.