Transforming Clinical Trial Consent: The Power of Digital Platforms

Michelle Gallahar is in conversation with our remarkable guest, Dr. Rebecca Saunderson on revolutionising medical and dental consent, including clinical trial consent.

Welcome to our special edition of Opylpod, where we celebrate International Clinical Trials Day. In this podcast Michelle Gallahar, the CEO of Opyl and founder of Opin.AI is in conversation with our remarkable guest, Dr. Rebecca Saunderson, the CEO of Concentric, an online platform revolutionising medical and dental consent, including clinical trial consent. The conversation delves into the world of clinical trial consent, the challenges it poses, and the transformative potential of digital technologies in improving the participant experience.

The consent process for medical and dental procedures, as well as clinical trials, often presents a significant hurdle for patients. Lengthy and complex consent forms generate anxiety and leave participants struggling to comprehend the information provided. Dr. Saunderson explains that Concentric aims to simplify the consent process by leveraging animations that translate clinical trial protocols into accessible information. These animations provide clear communication to patients, enabling them to understand the trial’s procedures and ask any questions before signing up.

By integrating innovative approaches like animations and audio-visual aids, digital platforms such as Concentric revolutionize the traditional consent procedures, resulting in enhanced clinician-patient interactions. Rather than burdening clinicians with the task of deciphering complex information, these platforms simplify the process, allowing clinicians to allocate their time more effectively. Consequently, clinicians can engage in more meaningful conversations, devoting their attention to addressing concerns and cultivating a deeper understanding between themselves and the participants.

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for the adoption of digital technologies in clinical trials. Initially, clinicians were preoccupied with ensuring their own safety and managing the challenges of the pandemic. However, once the teething issues were resolved, the benefits of digital solutions became apparent. Dr. Saunderson, drawing from her experience as a dermatologist, witnessed an uptick in telehealth and digital health technologies. These technologies allowed clinicians to provide care remotely while improving accessibility for patients, particularly in rural and remote areas.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a fundamental restructuring of healthcare practices, leading to the emergence of decentralised clinical trials as a transformative approach to address barriers to participation. In this context, Concentric’s platform, in collaboration with Opyl’s digital recruitment solutions (Opin.AI), plays a crucial role in deconstructing barriers to participation in clinical trials. By facilitating remote access to consent information and minimising the necessity for participants to travel, these innovative technologies effectively save both time and resources. As a result, they enhance the accessibility of clinical trials, opening up opportunities for diverse patient populations to engage in research, promoting inclusivity, and ensuring equitable access to healthcare advancements.

Consent plays a pivotal role as the critical gateway to participant safety and establishing the appropriate framework for clinical trials. Dr. Saunderson emphasises the significance of consent, highlighting the necessity for participants to genuinely comprehend the trial’s objectives. Leveraging Concentric’s technology enables participants to watch consent information at their own pace, facilitating better comprehension and the ability to share it with their support network. This empowers participants to make informed decisions and engage their loved ones in their healthcare journey. Concentric’s approach not only facilitates understanding but also fosters a sense of empowerment among patients, ultimately enhancing their overall experience.

Dr. Saunderson shares Concentric’s vision, which involves embracing multilingual consent by making consent available in every language. This innovative approach eliminates the need for phone interpreters or relying on inadequate translations by family members. By providing consent materials in participants’ native languages, Concentric’s platform ensures inclusivity and cultural sensitivity, ultimately promoting equal access to healthcare information for all individuals.

On this International Clinical Trials Day, we celebrate the transformative power of digital platforms like Concentric and Opin.AI in improving the participant experience. The innovative use of animations, remote access to consent information, and increased inclusivity in clinical trials exemplify the positive impact of digital technologies. Together, we are revolutionising the consent process, fostering better understanding, and empowering participants to actively engage in their healthcare decisions.