The Seven Solvable​ Challenges of Clinical Trials

11.10.23 07:19 PM By Lori

While some problems are unavoidable, many could be solved with a new approach to managing imaging workflows in clinical trials.

Innovation is soaring in new cancer therapies, with clinical trials increasing significantly over the past ten years1. From staffing shortages and protocol variance to measurement errors, the potential challenges are many. While some problems are unavoidable, many could be solved with a new approach to managing imaging workflows in clinical trials. Let’s look at seven challenges that often plague clinical trials and how to solve them.

One of the biggest challenges in clinical trials is the lack of trial access to all patients. Trials often require patients of a specific disease state or stage. Yet, their general population is anyone within driving distance of the (typically) academic medical center where the trial occurs. As a result, patients lack access, and trials lack diversity. These academic medical centers only serve 20% of the US population, and the trial enrollment rate in areas not served by academic medical centers, where 80% of us get our care, is a mere 3%2,3. Part of this challenge relates directly to the difficulties of conducting decentralized imaging trials. With access to systems like Yunu, sites can extend trials well beyond their usual service areas and offer remote image uploads, assessments, and reviews, all within a cloud-based environment. Sponsors, your patient pool just grew exponentially, and equity in access to revolutionary therapies has become a reality.

Trials are complex undertakings that require a large team of skilled professionals to execute successfully. Staffing shortages are significant and only growing with each passing day, which can lead to delays and disruptions in studies. Talented individuals from clinical sites are being recruited out of clinical sites and into the industry for higher salaries and more flexible work conditions - leaving sites with fewer resources to cover increasing workloads. According to a 2022 study in the ASCO Journal4 , “over 80% of research programs affiliated with SWOG (Cancer Research Network) report staffing shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of these shortages touches every aspect of clinical research. Ranked reasons for attrition were the desire for better pay, seeking better opportunities, and seeking more flexible working conditions. General burnout is ranked as the fourth most common cause.” New approaches to staffing trials are necessary and inevitable. Augmenting current staff with technology-driven advanced protocol support, on-demand remote resourcing for image assessments, and streamlined imaging workflows will go a long way to bridge the gap.

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