Participant Recruitment

Patient Centricity; Putting the Patient First in Clinical Trials in Africa

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Nneka Handschin

Published 01 Aug 2022 - Updated 18 Nov 2022

Patient Centricity; Putting the Patient First in Clinical Trials in Africa - Infiuss Health


Patient Centricity in African Clinical Research

Patient centricity has been a growing trend in health care and clinical research over the past 3 or more decades, and it is getting even more attention today. Quite simply, a patient-centric approach involves designing a treatment, clinical trial, or intervention centered around patients, their needs, and their wellbeing. 

Patient Centricity in Clinical Trials

In the context of clinical research, participant centricity involves viewing the entire clinical trial life cycle from a lens of patient advocacy, emphasizing the optimal experience and outcome for research participants. Life sciences research firms are increasingly realizing the value they can gain from improving patient experiences.

Practices to Improve the Patient Experience

Pharma companies, CROs, developers of medical devices, and other life sciences organizations are increasingly turning to the following patient-centric practices in their clinical trial SOPs.

  • Researching and adopting patient perspectives during clinical trials design
  • Transparent communication when engaging in patient recruitment
  • Investing in patient engagement throughout the course of a trial
  • Soliciting patient feedback during phases I, II, and III of clinical trials
  • Emphasizing patient safety when conducting site training
  • Actively seeking to improve patient experience at each touchpoint
  • Having an appointed patient advocate on the site staff roster
  • Empowering patients to self-advocate
  • Adequately explaining treatment options and answering questions
  • Accommodating patient preference whenever feasible
  • Mapping the patient journey and minimizing points of friction for trial participants
  • Considering decentralized clinical trials whenever viable for patient convenience

The benefits of a patient-centric approach run further than the comfort of the patient. Patient-centric clinical approaches tend to improve outcomes along metrics of participant engagement and treatment. These improved outcomes can translate to significant financial savings for the trial sponsor.

Patient Centricity in Pharma

Patient-focused drug development often leads to better clinical outcomes, starting with the enrollment process. According to, “85% of clinical trials fail to recruit enough patients,” while another 80% “are delayed due to recruitment problems.” 


Trials with a patient-centric focus are shown to outperform their non-patient-centric counterparts in the enrollment stage. A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found that patient-centric trials were 43% faster to recruit 100 participants (an average of four months) than those that neglected a patient-centric approach (an average of seven months).


The benefits of patient centricity extended beyond recruitment. The same EIU study demonstrated that “drugs developed using patient-centric designs” had a 19% higher launch rate (87% success over 68%). Drug developers are taking note.

Patient Centricity in Medical Device Research

A patient-centric approach to medical device research can lead to an accelerated product development timeline by optimizing participation and lowering participant drop-outs. Like drug development, medical device research needs engaged participants. 

Patient-Centered Communication

It’s important that a clinical trial design incorporate a communication style focused on the patient. One study found that patient-centered communication correlated with positive perceptions on the part of the patients. These positive perceptions were associated with improved health and recovery, lower discomfort, lower anxiety and concern, better emotional health, and fewer diagnostic tests or referrals. 


If you’re designing a clinical trial in Africa, we can help you build in patient-centered communication. From precision medicine to neglected tropical diseases or rare diseases, our expertise spans all clinical research areas with a wide network of African clinical experts and sites. 

Patient-Centered Research for Better Outcomes

Infiuss Health is a CRO with a focus on patient wellbeing. We enable pharmaceutical companies and other life sciences organizations conduct research in Africa and can assist with the design and implementation of your clinical trial with a patient-centric focus. We’ll help you recruit participants, engage patients, collect patient data, and manage your research site—all with participant wellbeing at the forefront of the research study. Our strategic solutions include decentralized clinical trial design, a proprietary clinical data management system, and a full suite of site management services.

Increasing Patient Centricity in Clinical Research

Here are 3 guideposts to accelerating a patient-centric culture in your clinical site.

Accessible Information

Ensure information is accessible and clear. Pay attention to language barriers, literacy levels, and disabilities, and implement strategies to mitigate the effects of these. In multilingual settings, you can put your patients first by offering information in multiple languages, both in the form of pamphlets and translators or interpreters. 


Another aspect of accessible information: the level of communication between provider and patient. Communication should be consistent and fluid. Online platforms such as patient portals can help create a space for easy and often communication. 

Value in the Patient

Providers must make sure their patients' concerns and needs are heard. These needs should be treated with respect and compassion. When you listen to the needs of your participants, you are improving the patient experience and paving the way for better outcomes.

Reduce Inconveniences

It is important to consider the amount of time your patients may be putting aside for your study. Many patients will not be vocal about this, unless asked, because they see no way around it. When valuing the patient is put into practice, providers should help their patients self-advocate for their optimal schedule and transportation. 


Other things to communicate about with patients are distance of travel and length of wait times. Some patients may need to miss a whole day of work when you add travel and wait times. Ask your patients if they are okay with this. Maybe there is another way that could work better for both patient and provider. 

FAQ on Patient-Centric Research

Why is patient centricity important?

Patient-centered practices matter in clinical research for two reasons, one humanitarian and the other financial.

  1. Individual patients are human beings worthy of dignity, respect, and care
  2. Patient-centered is a more efficient operating model

Patient-centered research is better for the sponsor’s budget and better for the health outcomes of participants.

How do you achieve patient centricity?

The best way to implement a patient-centered approach to research is to partner with a CRO already familiar with patient centric practices. From collecting data to medical communication to staff training and patient care, Infiuss has a network of experienced professionals versed in patient-centric best research practices.

What is patient centric monitoring?

Clinical site monitoring involves overseeing all aspects of clinical trials to ensure that a trial is conducted, recorded, and reported in accordance with the clinical protocol. Patient-centric monitoring means that a clinical trial is conducted, recorded, and reported according to patient-centric parameters established in the development process.

How can patient engagement be improved in clinical trials?

Patient engagement increases in clinical trials that implement patient-centric communication and practices. Staying engaged with patients and hearing their concerns; a relentless commitment to superior patient care; amplification of patient voice–these are some of the approaches that increase participation and retention.

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