Jaqueline Escotero: The clinical trial landscape is continually adapting its focus on patient-centric practices to improve access and participation. Aside from designing trials to reach diverse patient populations, whether defined by race, ethnicity or location, every aspect of the interaction must be attuned to the needs of the patient, and that includes how patients access treatments or prescriptions. Of the emerging approaches, the Direct-to-Patient (DtP) approach is capable of offering invaluable support to patients.
In concept, DtP is an integrated supply chain model that enables patients to receive their clinical trial treatments in their home or workplace. DtP services by necessity are comprehensive and can include dispensing the therapeutic product, transporting it to the patient, preserving chain of custody in a temperature-controlled manner, as well as patient sample collection and unused drug/supply return.At-home clinical trial participation can succeed, and it must – because like the wave of all self-administered drugs, convenient, private access to the treatment delivers a cascade of patient- and trial-centered benefits, especially dose compliance. Ultimately, broadening access to therapeutic areas and patient populations will therefore contribute to assuring clinical trial diversity.From my personal and professional perspective, a multisector approach is needed. The effort though will require developing partnerships with organizations and health entities, and engaging patients and providers. It will also require increasing awareness and understanding, educating the public about clinical trials, and improving the coverage of clinical trials costs. Lastly, it is about sharing best practices are opportunities to continue to advance diversity inclusion in clinical trials.