“We want to make sure that we put data into action to diversify the clinical trial patient population,” Reginald Swift, founder and CEO, Rubix LS told attendees of a panel at ATA2022 in Boston in early May 2022.
“As we look to expand telehealth’s role in clinical trials, we have to use technology to understand us [patients], our socio-economic conditions, what’s causing us difficulties in why we aren’t participating,” and leverage data to better understand how to connect with a wider range of patients, Swift said at the panel, “Telehealth’s Role in Driving Health Equity and Inclusivity in Clinical Trials.”
Over the past several years, Rubix has successfully leveraged data with a goal of promoting diversity in clinical trials, domestically and globally, focusing on infectious and rare diseases, both supporting and launching clinical trials, Swift said.
“Much of our studies now are focused on demographics that are traditionally underserved,” Swift said, noting Rubiz has some 500,000 patients in its network, with about 98% diversity, and 80% of that African American. The Rubix database and experience also includes working with patients in the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), LGBTQ+, LatinX, and other groups. “Our model of success has taken us from one patient in 2018 to half a million and growing by early 2021,” he said.
A key to success? “We distill and disseminate information” about trials and healthcare to disparate, traditionally underserved populations, he told attendees.
The work requires analyzing data and connecting with patient populations, Swift said. “We look at their socio-economic conditions, we look at how they communicate” he said. “How do they understand information data flow?”
In addition, the Rubix approach involved educating prospective patients about community groups and other organizations that can support them financially and otherwise to facilitate clinical trial understanding and participation.
The Rubix model of success is “huge” and vitally important, said fellow panelist Silas Buchanan, principal, Institute for eHealth Equity. “Meeting people on their own turf own terms with right messenger” is the foundation for success in inspiring new people to participate in clinical trials, he said. “The trusted messenger is critically important,” he added.
Rubix is “a showcase for a fresh approach,” said panel moderator James Mault, MD, founder and CEO, BioIntelliSense.
“We want to continue to facilitate diverse trials,” Swift said, calling on others to join the important work.