Making use of electronic patient-reported outcomes (otherwise known as ePRO) can provide a streamlined way to offer a more patient-centric experience and reduce the burden of site staff. Modern ePRO vendors can provide a range of features for clinical trial participants, communicate seamlessly with Interactive Web Response Systems, and provide support services throughout the trial.
However, finding the right vendor is paramount to streamlining this process, and that requires setting the right expectations. Below are some factors to consider when in talks with ePRO vendors to determine which is the right fit.
Tips for choosing the right ePRO vendor for a clinical trial
Consider the devices used in the study
Devices have changed the way that data is distributed and collected in clinical trials, and it is important to work with a vendor that lets sponsors take full advantage of the cutting-edge capabilities. Many studies use wearable fitness trackers or provide patients with tablets for viewing instructions, so it is important to discuss this possibility with an ePRO vendor to ensure their systems are compatible.
Provide potential vendors with the study protocol
Sharing the study protocol with potential vendors can often allow them to create a prototype of how they could integrate with the study, even if the full details still need to be finalized. This can provide a sense of the user experience and patient-centric considerations while allowing sponsors and site staff to provide feedback.
Ask about patient engagement features
A key benefit of integrating ePRO systems into a study is the ability to set up automated push notifications or emails to remind patients of the tasks they have to complete. Some tools even include functionality to create newsletters and other interactive features to keep patients engaged and informed.
Learn about the vendor’s design process
Every ePRO vendor will handle the design process differently. Some provide drag-and-drop tools that enable teams to design their interfaces, while others may handle each aspect of the design with the input they gather from setup meetings.
Get a picture of upfront costs and potential savings
One of the main hesitations surrounding implementing new offerings such as ePRO is the upfront cost associated with new technology. However, there are also potential savings to consider, especially in the long term. Vendors can often provide feedback from their clients surrounding any cost savings they have experienced which can help provide a clear picture of the costs and benefits.
Ask about the vendor’s experience with different condition areas and types of trials
Every trial is unique, but for some scenarios, ePRO can be particularly helpful. For example, one study found that patients were more likely to report sexual activity when using ePRO than they were on paper, perhaps thanks to an increased feeling of privacy. Some platforms also include tools to capture data that would otherwise be difficult to include, such as screening for mental health issues.
Consider the ongoing support services a vendor offers
While most vendors will be happy to offer clients support throughout the trial, the extent of this can vary. Some companies have 24/7 customer support offerings, while others may have smaller teams. When discussing the vendor’s mockup and other elements of working together, also consider the role the company will play once the trial starts running.