Embracing Change: The Future of Clinical Trials in Australia
Michelle Gallaher, CEO of Opyl and founder of Opin.AI, is in conversation with Sharon Charles, VP of Clinical Operations at Pro Pharma Group, to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health research and clinical trials.
To celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, we bring you an episode of Opyl Pod, where we dive into the world of clinical trials. Michelle Gallaher, CEO of Opyl and founder of Opin.AI, is in conversation with Sharon Charles, VP of Clinical Operations at Pro Pharma Group, to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health research and clinical trials. Join us as we explore the evolving landscape of clinical trials and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.
The conversation begins by acknowledging the unique challenges brought about by the pandemic. Sharon highlights how clinical trials initially experienced a slowdown as healthcare systems focused on acute care. However, the situation presented an opportunity for new technologies and innovative processes to emerge. Vaccine clinical research witnessed a surge, while traditional trials gradually regained momentum. Yet, the enduring effect of the pandemic is a prevailing fiscal restraint, which prompts organisations to rethink their clinical trial strategies.
Michelle and Sharon delve into the concept of decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) and Pro Pharma’s expertise in this area. DCTs involve conducting trial activities outside of the traditional clinical trial site. This can include home nursing services, utilising local general practitioners (GPs), or satellite sites. Sharon explains how Australia’s telehealth initiative provided a head start for DCTs, enabling trials to extend beyond clinical settings. The discussion highlights the inclusive nature of DCTs, granting access to participants in remote regions and improving diversity and inclusion in clinical studies.
Diversity and inclusion in clinical trials emerge as essential considerations. Sharon emphasises that clients increasingly prioritise diversity measures, and regulations in the United States reflect this growing focus. While measurement tools are still developing, DCTs offer potential solutions by enabling participation for individuals facing geographical or mobility constraints. By making trials more accessible, patients gain access to cutting-edge treatments, sites benefit from increased recruitment, and clients advance product development, leading to better health outcomes for all.
The conversation touches upon the vital role of primary care physicians and allied health professionals in clinical research. Michelle and Sharon discuss how pharmacists, physiotherapists, and other healthcare providers within the extended network can contribute to research. Involving these providers enhances a connected healthcare response, fosters patient familiarity, and improves the overall patient experience.
In closing, Sharon shares her insights on the future of clinical trials in Australia. She anticipates the continued growth of decentralised trials, along with the fine-tuning of technologies involved. Sharon stresses the importance of maintaining strong relationships and effective communication throughout this transformative process. As the industry embraces change and learns together, investing in quality relationships with flexible, adaptable, and knowledgeable partners becomes essential.
As we approach International Clinical Trials Day, we reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent changes in the clinical trials landscape. The conversation with Sharon Charles sheds light on the rise of decentralised clinical trials, their potential to enhance diversity and inclusion, and the need for meaningful relationships to navigate this evolving field. With technology and collaboration at the forefront, the future of clinical trials in Australia holds immense promise for improved health outcomes and greater accessibility to cutting-edge treatments.