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DIA 2022 Recap: The value of learning by doing

July 7, 2022
By Jane Myles, VP of Clinical Trial Innovation at Curebase

At the end of June, I attended the 2022 Drug Information Association’s (DIA) Annual Global Meeting, in Chicago along with a team of Curebase members. The theme of this year's meeting was to “Collaborate to Innovate”; for the first time in 2 years,  industry pioneers, regulators, sponsors, thought leaders, and more came together, mostly in person, to collaborate in problem-solving, co-conceptualizing, education, learning, and trend forecasting. 

DIA has been a foundational part of building my industry knowledge base, my network of thought partners, and honing my presentation skills.  It’s an organization and a conference I value deeply. 

DIA has always been a great opportunity for us to learn just how big the industry is and how many moving parts there are. Covering a wide variety of topics with an influx of innovative thinking, DIA is a place for knowledge sharing and collaboration. It is a setting that promotes productive discussions among key stakeholders in the industry with a balance between learning from others, and partnering to solve what’s coming next. . When this happens, we gain insights into how to anticipate problems and mitigate them, overcome challenges, and be more innovative in our approaches.

Frankly, there is simply too much content available to consume it all, but some key themes really resonated with me, including the importance of patient-reported outcomes in trials and where we can do better, the increasing interest in and use of digital biomarkers, the industry’s craving for clear DCT guidance, and how collectively we are finally systematizing patient-centricity in both design and execution of clinical development plans and trials 

2022 was the first year Curebase attended DIA and our booth allowed our team the chance to interact with a wide range of attendees including collaborators and sponsors. While some of our team members manned the booth, others including myself, attended various sessions of interest. In order to convey the extensive capabilities of Curebase’s full-service DCT platform, Curebase created and released a demo study, CurebasEX, for conference attendees to sign up for and participate in in real-time to experience the authentic patient journey. 

The CurebasEX study was a fully functional demo study that allowed participants to experience the Curebase patient journey first-hand. Conference attendees were asked to scan QR codes which brought them to the Curebase platform to read about the study. Then they were prompted to create user profiles and provide simple personal information, essentially prescreening to then move forward with the eConsent process. Once enrolled, participants were prompted to respond to a series of questions on their conference experience at various points over a  three-day period (the DIA conference). Participants were also prompted to input payment information to receive a $15 payment upon completion of specific tasks throughout the study to mimic patient payment in trials. 

On Wednesday of the conference, I presented Learning by Doing: An Analysis of a Curebase DCT Patient Experience at the Innovation Theater which discussed our demo study and reported on real-time data we were able to collect from the attendees. Just simply running this demo study has taught us so much. Interestingly, we were able to illustrate real-world challenges that trials face with recruitment, retention, high-touch engagement tactics, and study incentives. As the conference went on, attendees got busy and had to balance their participation in the CurebasEX study with the rest of their event plans, the same way patients have to balance everyday life while participating in a trial. The charts below are a small example of what we were able to track: 

Patient experience data was collected from participants being asked how easy it was to create their account, complete the eConsent process, their likelihood to utilize this approach in future trials, and more.

Attendees’ participation ultimately dwindled as the event progressed, this is not uncommon in clinical trials that require consistent patient participation throughout an extended period of time. The big takeaway for me was that for this particular demo study, we focused on high-tech over high-touch, knowing that our audience was more likely to be familiar with trials and the technology used in them than typical trial participation. So if we were to repeat this experiment, we might add in a high-touch engagement approach to really stay connected with the participants and to encourage them to fill out their daily surveys.

I’ve been interested in building a demo study that can truly exemplify what patients are experiencing including crucial elements like eConsent, ePROs, image uploads, and payment for a long time. The learning by doing experiential approach provides invaluable learning, both to the team that designs and builds the experiment and to the people who participate in it. To actually build a demo study at this magnitude for DIA attendees to participate in and see an accurate depiction of the platform is huge and a true testament to the innovation of Curebase’s leadership team. Overall, DIA 2022 was a great learning experience with insights to incorporate into the future of DCT models, the modernization of clinical trials, and the industry’s commitment to innovation as a whole.

Read more about the services and software shared in this blog here: The “E’s” of eClinical Software: Understanding and defining technology elements of decentralized trials

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