Today we delve into the dynamic world of clinical trials. This discussion aims to uncover the intricacies and challenges within this field, focusing on patient experiences, patient engagement, technological advancements, and strategic approaches to clinical trials. Michel van Harten, with his rich experience in medicine and a pivotal role as CEO at myTomorrows, brings to the table a blend of practical insights and innovative strategies crucial for anyone navigating the clinical trial ecosystem.

Moe Alsumidaie: Michel, please share your background and what motivated you to join myTomorrows.

Michel van Harten: My journey in the medical field, particularly in oncology and research, has been driven by a commitment to patient care and the advancement of treatment options. At myTomorrows, I found an opportunity to leverage my experience to address the gap in patient access and patient engagement to innovative treatments and clinical trials. This transition was fueled by a blend of personal and professional aspirations to make a tangible difference in the healthcare sector.

Moe Alsumidaie: What challenges do patients typically face when considering clinical trials, and how can these be effectively addressed?

Michel van Harten: The journey into clinical trials can be daunting for patients. They often face difficulties understanding the intricacies of trials, what they entail, and finding trials that align with their specific conditions. We prioritize demystifying these processes, focusing on clear communication and education about the potential benefits, risks, and the overall structure of clinical trials. By simplifying access to this information, we aim to empower patients, enhance their engagement, and increase retention rates in clinical trials.

Michel-van-Harten-CEO-myTomorrows-
Michel van Harten CEO MyTomorrows

Moe Alsumidaie: How can study sites become more accommodating to the diverse needs of patient populations to drive better patient engagement?

Michel van Harten: Catering to diverse patient groups requires a multifaceted approach. Recognizing and addressing the unique challenges various populations face, including those in rural or underrepresented communities, is essential. Technology, particularly tools that assist in identifying appropriate clinical trials, is instrumental in bridging these gaps. Such tools enable physicians across different settings to find and recommend suitable trials, fostering inclusivity and expanding the reach of these studies.

Moe Alsumidaie: Could you discuss myTomorrows’ role in aiding physicians to connect their patients with relevant clinical trials?

Michel van Harten: Our aim is to simplify the connection between physicians and clinical trials. The Trial Search AI tool we’ve developed allows physicians to input specific patient medical profiles and quickly identify potential trial matches. This streamlined approach saves time and opens up more opportunities for patients to access trials that may be most beneficial for them.

Moe Alsumidaie: What measures are being taken to enhance physician awareness of clinical trials, and how is patient privacy safeguarded?

Michel van Harten: To raise awareness among physicians, we’re actively involved in educational and networking activities, such as conferences and workshops. These initiatives are aimed at informing physicians about the latest in clinical trials and how to navigate them. Regarding patient privacy, our adherence to GDPR and other privacy regulations is stringent. We ensure that patient data is handled with the utmost care, requiring explicit consent for data sharing and maintaining robust data security protocols.

Moe Alsumidaie: What are your plans for further improving patient access to clinical trials?

Michel van Harten: Our future strategies involve expanding our physician network and integrating advanced AI technologies into our platform. These developments aim to simplify the patient journey through clinical trials, making the process more accessible and user-friendly. By enhancing our digital tools, we hope to provide patients and healthcare providers a more seamless, supportive experience.

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Moe Alsumidaie Chief Editor
Moe Alsumidaie is Chief Editor of The Clinical Trial Vanguard. Moe holds decades of experience in the clinical trials industry. Moe also serves as Head of Research at CliniBiz and Chief Data Scientist at Annex Clinical Corporation.