Benefits of Travel Services for Clinical Trials
Why should you consider travel services for your clinical trial? The answer is simple - patients are always going to need to travel for studies, whether it is to get themselves down the street or across the state. No matter the distance, reliable travel can be difficult if the patient cannot transport themselves. A travel vendor can ensure the patient attends all study appointments by providing services like ground transportation, or even medical-assisted transportation. A frequent study visit schedule can also result in high costs for transportation, possibly leading the patient to question their participation. Travel services eliminate many of these worries, thus providing many benefits not only to patients and caregivers, but also to sites and sponsors.
Reduced Site and Sponsor Burden
Travel services provide three major benefits to sites and sponsors:
- Increased patient retention. Implementing travel services as part of your clinical trial is proven to dramatically increase patient retention rates. Patients are far more likely to adhere to the study protocol visit schedule when travel needs are taken care of for them ahead of time and are customized to their unique needs. Not only does this help each individual patient on their clinical trial journey, but it helps achieve the ultimate goal – a fully enrolled and viable study. In a recent webinar poll, 83% of respondents said that travel has affected retention in their trials. Imagine if this 83% had provided travel services for their trial instead.
- Faster enrollment. With the help of travel services, patients can attend screening visits sooner and may commit to a study sooner simply because they know that they will have travel support if needed. Taking this weight off of the patient’s shoulders makes their decision to enroll in a study much simpler since their choice will no longer center around questions like, “Can I get there?,” “How much will it cost me to get there?,” etc. Providing travel services as an option to your patients also opens enrollment to a wider range of the patient population. This is great for sponsors and sites, particularly in therapeutic areas that are hard to recruit for, such as rare disease.
- Less responsibility for sites. Study coordinators have enough to be concerned about when running a clinical trial – they don’t need to be spending their time worrying about how to get patients to and from their site, especially when alternatives like travel programs exist. Travel vendors are able to handle the scheduling of appointments, last minute cancellations, and any unique accommodations that may arise for the patients. Removing this responsibility from the study coordinator’s plate leaves them with plenty of time to complete their most essential task – carrying out the study.
Travel services arguably offer the most benefits to patients. Some of the biggest benefits are:
- Convenience. Travel vendors take care of all of the work for patients. Patients don’t need to worry about booking their flights, rides, or hotel stays. If the travel vendor is industry-specific, they also will not have to communicate their travel needs; an industry-specific vendor will be well-versed in study protocols and will be able to accurately anticipate patient travel based on the visit calendar outlined within.
- Independence. For many patients, travel services eliminate the need to rely on friends and family for transportation to and from their study visits. This is a huge added benefit for someone who may really want to participate in a study, but does not want to have to ask for help to get there. Providing patients with a sense of control in this arena goes a long way.
- Reduced cost burden. When travel services are implemented as part of a clinical trial, the associated costs are absorbed by the sponsor. This is, of course, a huge relief to patients. Plane and rail tickets can add up quickly, as do hotel stays, meals on the road, parking charges, and mileage. Cost alone is a deterrent for many people considering a clinical trial, especially one that is not close to home. When costs are covered, patients are far more likely to agree to participate. Covering these sorts of costs for patients is compliant with IRB and EC regulations.
- Visit reminders. A good travel vendor will be able to remind patients of their upcoming study visits. Whether with a phone call or a text, travel vendors can be in consistent contact with your patients. This essentially guarantees study visit adherence, and contributes to the overall success of your study.
These are only a few benefits of including travel services as part of your study. Are you interested in learning more about patient travel? Register for our webinar below!
Post by Maggie Kilgallon -
Maggie is a Marketing Coordinator at ClinEdge, BTC Network, and GuideStar Research. She assists the internal marketing team with content creation, conference planning, webinar management, external partnerships, social media strategy, and other marketing efforts.