Understanding the importance of the whole person in clinical research
In this episode of the pharmaphorum podcast, web editor Nicole Raleigh speaks with KimberLee Heidmann, executive vice president of patient experience and customer success at Scout Clinical, part of Meeting Protocol Worldwide, a Dallas-based family of brands providing full-service meeting planning for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, as well as clinical trial patient concierge travel and reimbursement services.
Starting her career in the life sciences space, Heidmann cut her teeth in the field as a grant writer. With a focus on physician education and working with pharma and biotech to bring protocol education to investigator sites, she began work with Scout Clinical in 2016. The most impactful part of the journey there has been understanding the importance of the impact of the whole person in clinical research. Indeed, Heidmann is excited by the changes that have begun to take place now, driving transformative change forwards for amelioration of patient access, reducing burden, and increasing adherence.
A suite of services, rather than one solution, is key, Heidmann says, and this includes looking at creating cost neutrality along with the provision of coordinated services when it comes to travel and transportation. Long-term housing and even cultural relocation can be involved, too, when it comes to cross-border enrolment – as in rare disease trials – so that patients can relocate to the centre of excellence where they are to be treated.
Having thus moved people and managed patients in over 100 countries, Heidmann tells how they’ve worked with trials of as few as two to large vaccine trials of 2,000, but common to both ends of the spectrum are the unique qualities and flexibility in customisation to be considered when it comes to what precisely needs to be offered.
Heidmann notes that included in this is the provision of broad information on approaches to various regulatory requirements. Current examples in the field include the current geopolitical climate and ongoing conflicts, and the onus on ensuring patients aren’t kept from the treatment they desperately need due to these challenging matters.
Patient access and patient concierge continue to develop and, in the future, advancements from allowing for the impact of the whole person make for a ‘toolbox’ that encompasses awareness and the essential element of trust.
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