Healthcare companies are partnering with Lyft and Uber in order to make transportation easier for clinical trial patients and study coordinators.
Transportation has long been a barrier to clinical trial participation. Many patients live far away from participating clinical trial sites, are unable to drive, and/or lack access to reliable public transit. In fact, according to patient recruitment site Continuum Clinical, up to 50% of patients who are considering joining a clinical trial cite lack of transportation as an obstacle to enrollment.
For patients, securing transportation to clinical trial sites can be time-consuming and costly. Many rely on family members to bring them to and from research centers, which can result in missed appointments. For sponsors and CROs, patients’ insufficient access to transportation may cause studies to miss out on valuable populations who are interested in participating in clinical trials, but are unable to do so.
In order to boost patient enrollment and retention, sponsors and CROs are pursuing new initiatives to make clinical trials more convenient and accessible. For instance, as healthcare organizations and providers begin to partner with ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, it is becoming more feasible to deliver greater levels of patient centricity. In addition, these initiatives can help lower costs and bring treatments to market more quickly.
Clinical Trials Partner with Uber and Lyft
In June, Uber announced that it was partnering with a mobile clinical trial management company to provide transportation services to patients. Uber Health will offer convenient rides to and from clinical trial sites, allowing patients to save valuable time and money. As summarized in the press release announcing the partnership, “Satisfied and well-cared for patients have been found to stay in studies for longer durations, for increased patient retention.”
Similarly, Lyft has been working with healthcare leaders to make it easier for patients to secure transportation to their clinical trial appointments. Last year, the ridesharing company partnered with a financial software provider to centralize billing for patient transportation. The goal of this initiative is to streamline the ride booking and reimbursement processes without forcing coordinators to jump through logistical hoops. In addition to enhanced convenience for patients, the partnership has the potential to lower administrative costs for sponsors and CROs.
Much Progress to Be Made in Patient Centricity
Partnerships with ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber are an important step toward prioritizing patient-centric practices in clinical trials. However, there is still a great deal of room for improvement when it comes to addressing patients’ needs and treatment goals.
For instance, to further cater to patients who have difficulty securing transportation to and from trial sites, sponsors and CROs can implement remote monitoring practices that allow patients to remain in the comfort of their own homes. Wearables, mHealth, and even virtual reality can make clinical trial participation less burdensome for patients by limiting the number of trips they need to make to investigator sites. Like ridesharing services, these technologies promise to steer clinical trials further toward patient centricity and, ultimately, create more engaging, well-attended studies.