When it Comes to Clinical Trial Travel, Communication Equals Confidence


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When it comes to Clinical Trials, Soothing Recruitment and Retention Headaches the Logistical Way in Clinical Trails

Part 2 of 3

By Franc Jeffrey

Communication equals confidence
Specific agents are allocated to each study, allowing the subjects to become familiar and comfortable. Electronic profiles which are in-line with data protection and also PCI compliant are used to keep subject information up to date.  An agent can access these profiles with a few key strokes. This allows reservations and expense reimbursements to be processed quickly with minimal inconvenience to the subject.

Proactivity is key when organizing travel arrangements for subjects. Often study protocols and timetables focus only on the science and not the travel times involved. One day on site can mean three days travel time for subjects, depending on the length of appointment and availability of transport. Through viewership of the protocol the TMC can humanize the study schedule, which means subjects know exactly the time commitment required before joining the study.  Communication of the actual time expectations, not just the amount of visits, at the enrolment stage results in a higher retention rate.

A travel management service is seen by the subject as a neutral party and this generally means that subjects will communicate both willingly and freely, which allows the TMC to help them and, in turn, maintain their confidence.  Each requirement is contemplated individually and every aspect and detail of the operation, from home to clinic, is arranged for them.  For example, air travel can be unnerving for subjects who require special care and assistance, such as those in wheelchairs and those who require access to oxygen.  By liaising with airlines and using established partnerships a TMC can ensure travel is as seamless as possible for the subjects.  If a subject requires specialized medical care while travelling, arrangements can be made for road or air ambulances, ensuring optimum comfort and medical care for the journey.

Multi-Site Studies
Conducting multi-site studies can often be a daunting task, from both a logistical and budgetary viewpoint.  This is particularly true in emerging markets, where there are often cultural differences and language barriers to overcome.  By utilizing the services of a network of global partners, the TMC ensures the service providers can draw on valuable local knowledge, such as familiarity with travel requirements relevant to the customs unique to that region.

For example, during one trial, subjects from Paraguay were happy to travel by ferry from Monte Video to Buenos Aires and back again in once day, in order to receive infusions.  In the same study in the USA, subjects arrived in the town where they were to receive their infusions the evening before, in order to arrive at the site first thing in the morning, they spent all day there before departing for home.  In Russia, the same trial allowed subjects to relocate to the city of their trial site for the duration of the research, due to a lack of public transport infrastructure.

This level of knowledge, combined with a study timetable and details of site locations, allows for effective travel and expense budgeting for global and multi-site trials.  Additionally, local currency expense reimbursements and all travel arrangements made using global partners are billed centrally: this offers research sponsor’s consolidated financial data from one reporting system and immediate visibility of study expenditure.