Embracing the Patient’s Point of View

Male doctor shaking hands with patient in clinicThis is the fifth post in our Lilly Discovery blog series that describes how Lilly employees discover and develop innovative treatments for patients. We're also highlighting many of the passionate scientists and clinicians behind Lilly’s cutting-edge discoveries.

You’ve heard the phrase “two-way street,” where a situation or relationship involves mutual or reciprocal action. Perhaps the first example that comes to mind is friendship. Have you ever thought of clinical-trial development as being a two-way street?

Clinical trials are essential to the development and testing of new drug therapies, though a lack of awareness and hesitancy exists among people who might participate. Studies have shown some people are deterred from enrolling in a clinical trial because they don’t understand the purpose of the study, or feel the trial is too long and intensive.

That's where we come in. Lilly fosters better awareness of clinical-trial enrollment while also building simpler, more convenient, patient-friendly trials.

One approach is through a new, collaborative program called CoLAB, which brings Lilly clinical-research teams and external partners (including patients, study coordinators, nurses and physicians) face to face for a dress rehearsal of a clinical-trial protocol. During a day-long CoLAB simulation, Lilly invites patients to share their ideas about clinical-trial elements such as planned medication dosing, study visits and required samples.

Tess Gilbert L Pin Photo“It’s wonderful to hear directly from the patients,” says Tess Gilbert, an associate consultant in clinical-trial management at Lilly. “CoLAB challenges us to think outside of the box and make changes to our clinical trials based on the real-life experiences of patients and research sites. We even changed several of the inclusion and exclusion criteria for a Crohn’s disease trial based on patient feedback from a recent CoLAB simulation.”

Another way Lilly addresses patients’ needs for greater clinical-trial awareness is through Lilly TrialGuide.com, an easy-to-use online platform designed for patients based on their own feedback. The website provides educational information around clinical trials and serves as a reliable, comprehensive source for ongoing Lilly studies.


We also consider the importance of the role that health care professionals play in implementing a clinical trial. “Everyone was eager to hear what the trial coordinators, as well as patients, had to say,” said Kelly Roberts, R.N., a study coordinator who participated in a recent CoLAB simulation. “I felt like I had a voice in trying to make the clinical trial a success for everyone involved.”

Through programs such as CoLAB, Lilly scientists and physicians aim to better understand and embrace the patient’s point of view. “The patient really is at the center of everything we do,” says Gilbert. “That is why I love my job.”

Click here to read a recent Wall Street Journal article that features Lilly’s efforts to make clinical trial enrollment easier for patients. Learn more about our scientists with Lilly Discovery chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4.