Using Technology to Empower Alzheimer's Patients and Caregivers
Jessie O'Gorman
Jessie O'Gorman
Executive Director, P6

Smartphones may soon be as ubiquitous and essential to healthcare as the stethoscope. Technology has already had a profound impact on healthcare, from wireless monitoring devices and mobile applications, to how consumers educate themselves before making important medical decisions. Smartphones may also be instrumental in transforming clinical trials, particularly for Alzheimer’s patients.

Patient compliance and retention are critical to the success of clinical trials. One of the challenges pharma companies face is high dropout rates. Research shows that for some Alzheimer’s studies the retention rate is less than 50 percent. Participating in a clinical trial can be a big commitment—keeping up with study visits, responding to surveys and diary entries can be burdensome not only for the patient but their caregiver.

Mobile technology is one way of easing this burden. Parallel 6, a PRA Health Sciences company, developed Clinical6, an mClinical platform for patient enrollment, engagement and management, along with a mobile application called the Care Circle, to help drive clinical trial patient compliance by empowering the patient’s invited family or friends to receive reminders for patient medication adherence, and appointments. The app also facilitates two-way communication between the patient and their care circle.


As clinical trials and the patient become more connected digitally and incorporate risk-based monitoring, the need to supplement patient compliance and increase overall patient engagement and retention has increased dramatically. The Care Circle app gives clinical researchers the ability to securely view trial information and medication adherence reports. This digital process is more efficient and less prone to human error.

The need for innovation is clear. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects more than 45 million people worldwide, yet there are no therapies currently available to prevent the disease. More clinical studies are needed but they must be patient friendly to improve compliance. lists more than 350 AD trials that are actively recruiting for volunteers. Potential volunteers must be consented and screened. Some trials require expensive screenings such as brain scans or spinal fluid biomarkers. Recruitment can sometimes take months which can delay trials and substantially increase drug development costs. That’s why tools that will help improve recruitment, enrollment, data collection and compliance are essential in improving efficiency and cost savings.

Keeping patients engaged in a clinical trial isn’t easy. By creating a digital and patient-centric trial environment, enabled by mobile solutions, you make participating in a trial more convenient—and the more convenient it is the more likely people will be willing to do it.

The Clinical6 Care Circle mobile app puts the ease of participating in a trial literally in someone’s hand, and just as importantly their caregiver’s hand. Patient-centric study designs that enable a more digitally connected trial environment will transform the clinical development process and most importantly, help bring new therapies to market quicker to help those in need.


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