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How COVID-19 Changed the Relationship Between Healthcare and Life Sciences

Researcher using a microscope

It’s been an interesting couple of years for the life sciences industry. The pandemic stopped many clinical trials right in their tracks, reducing expected clinical trials between February and May 2020 by 43%. 

The upside? A lot of changes in the life sciences industry that led to positive changes in the broader healthcare industry. Here are some of the changes that came about in the life sciences industry that changed that industry’s approach to healthcare due to COVID-19.

Boost in Clinical Trials

While clinical trials temporarily paused in early 2020, it’s undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic spurred interest in clinical trials thanks to the push of the COVID-19 vaccine. The number of clinical trials increased by 18% from 2020 to 2021 and made an even bigger jump at 28% from 2021 to 2022.

With the increase in clinical trials, clinical research can play a bigger role in care plans and improving health outcomes in patients. More clinical trials, especially with flexibility in the location and how they operate, allow providers to give patients additional options in improving care management of chronic conditions.

More Flexibility with Clinical Trials

When patients weren’t leaving their homes, that meant they weren’t completing the necessary aspects of the clinical trials in which they were participating. That meant life science companies needed to come up with solutions to keep their trials going and that involved changing the game.

Companies found that there was more flexibility than they thought and the whole model added more digital tools to make it more accessible anytime and anywhere with virtual options. Not only did it keep these trials going, but it also expanded the pool for participants since they didn’t have to be in specific locations.

Growth in Care Management Technology

Patients are more eager and willing to use new technologies to manage their conditions than ever. In fact, 60% of healthcare consumers would like to use tech to manage their conditions or to communicate with their providers and 44% of patients have used new devices and apps to manage their conditions since the pandemic began. But how does this relate to life sciences?

Previously, the healthcare consumer technology wasn’t up to par with the technological improvements found in other consumer industries like retail and hospitality. Patient technology advancements that were made during the pandemic weren’t meant to come to fruition for many years but instead resulted in tremendous technological growth that meets the standards of care patients want. Part of that involves a care plan that encompasses patient communication between themselves and their provider, remote monitoring and check-ins on additional aspects of their care plan like clinical trials.

Thanks to on-demand workflows built into the PatientBond platform, providers can integrate patient touchpoints within the clinical trial process to address any issues like forgetting to take medications or attend appointments. Care tools like this help trial participants stay on track with minimal issues.

Reimagined Clinical Trial Recruitment

Prior to COVID, there wasn’t an expanded effort for clinical trial recruitment. Patients found out through their primary care or hospital about clinical trials for which they may be qualified. These efforts work, but since many patients don’t have a primary care provider or may not visit the hospital frequently, there’s a greater need to pursue additional recruitment avenues.

With a growing number of people using urgent care centers, especially during the pandemic, this gave clinical trials the opportunity to tap into a new recruitment pipeline with success. But the biggest benefit is that the healthcare consumer that utilizes urgent care centers more than any other psychographic segment are Willful Endurers, which make up nearly a third of healthcare consumers. And through the use of the PatientBond Insights Accelerator™, life science companies can tap into patient insights to better engage with these consumers and motivate them to sign up for a trial.

Eager to boost your clinical trial enrollment? Download our case study to learn more about how you can increase enrollment using digital communications.

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