Patient recruitment and retention efforts are crucial to the success of a clinical trial. There are several challenges that threaten patient retention, one of the largest being transportation to study sites.
Across all medical indications, travel can be burdensome to the patient, whether it is due to the reliability of transportation, the expenses incurred, or any physical obstacles the patient may face. Many patients may not even consider a clinical trial opportunity if extensive travel is involved, and those who do may eventually discontinue the study as the burden of travel can quickly become too much.
Patients are much more likely to follow through with a study when they have reliable transportation to and from their study visits and can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses acquired as a result of traveling (i.e. gas mileage, parking, meals). The convenience that travel services offer, combined with financial relief, go a long way to improve patient satisfaction and the overall experience. This results in greater ability and desire to follow through with a study.
Ultimately, retention rates improve for studies across all indications when travel services are implemented. In particular, trials for patients with rare diseases, or trials that are attempting to reach patients across a wide geographic area, see huge success.
What does travel coordination entail?
A travel vendor coordinates any and all transportation, including airfare, rail, and ground transportation. They also coordinate hotel stays and special accommodations for patients, and their caregivers, when applicable. Travel vendors that specialize in clinical trials are able to obtain study protocols when they begin working with a sponsor on a study and anticipate patient travel needs based on the visit schedule outlined within. This sort of clinical literacy is a huge benefit to sponsors, patients, and sites.
A clinical trial-specific vendor will also have knowledge of IRB and EC regulations, and will be able to put that knowledge to use in their coordination of travel both inside and outside of the United States. A good travel vendor will be able to offer 24/7 support in all time zones and languages for patients who want to speak with a specialist about their travel needs, anytime, anywhere.
A personally crafted patient travel itinerary is part of what makes travel coordination services so beneficial. Itineraries are built around two main objectives: providing the most convenient travel experience possible to patients, and reducing burden on site staff. This makes the patients more comfortable with the study and allows the site to focus all of their energy on conducting the study. At the end of the day, clinical research is all about the patients; choosing to implement travel services as part of your study shows that you value them.
The Process at a Glance
Booking travel through a vendor is seamless and hassle-free as all bookings can be centralized through a single point of contact. The process implemented is simple:
- Site identifies a patient who is eligible for travel assistance.
- Site staff works with patient or caregiver to complete basic travel forms.
- Vendor receives the completed forms and contacts the patient or caregiver to book a travel itinerary that best fits their preferences.
By working directly with site staff, travel vendors become an integrated part of the clinical trial experience.
By working directly with site staff, travel vendors become an integrated part of the clinical trial experience.Interested in learning more about ClinEdge Travel? Download our case study below!