Life at UBC: Reaching Patients One Clinical Trial at a Time

Barton Kelecava - Patient recruitment and retention - UBC

Life at UBC: Reaching Patients One Clinical Trial at a Time

Doctors appointments, blood draws, dietary restrictions and medical tests can make patients hesitant to enroll in a clinical trial. Thankfully, many patients are willing to participate in clinical research, and it’s my job to find creative ways to make the experience easy and clear for both patients and research study sites.

I am the Creative Director for Patient and Physician Services at UBC. This means, I lead a team that designs clinical trial materials and recruits trial participants. We aim to creatively and accurately name the study, create a consistent theme and look, and develop materials that make adherence easier. My team helps generate enthusiasm among the trial staff and prospective patients and ultimately contributes to study participation.

When a pharmaceutical sponsor enlists UBC’s Patient and Physician Services department to help recruit physicians and patients for a new drug in development, they’re putting a lot of trust in us. They count on my team to capture all the information patients need, put it in an easy-to-understand format, and make it visually appealing so it stands out among the other information a patient may be receiving.
We also often supply each trial site with an investigator kit that includes carefully crafted study information. These kits include brochures, study binders, study eligibility criteria cards for quick reference, and detailed information to guide the patient throughout the study. Patient retention is the next challenge. To keep patients engaged and to increase adherence, study participants usually receive appointment reminders, a study overview guide, and other items to help them adhere to the study medication and attend study visits.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is how my team faces and overcomes new challenges. For example, new technology is replacing practices we used to rely on. When I started with UBC three years ago, study-specific websites were a “nice to have.” Now the bulk of our work is focused on digital media. Our concentration is turning to materials and products that fit into the lifestyles of study participants. We are developing mobile apps, video books, online surveys, text messaging, and cloud-connected wearable technology that measurably contributes to patient retention.
Whenever I hear of a new drug approval or a new indication for a product on the market, I think of the patients who participated in clinical research to support that drug. Thanks to them, other patients will benefit from this new therapy.

Similar to the patients who participate in trials, I too took a risk joining UBC. I was happy in my previous role, but now I am happy and fulfilled by working at UBC. I chose to work for this company because of the people and the values.  Everyone I interviewed with was friendly, enthusiastic, and welcoming. I was intrigued with managing a creative services department that focused on developing materials for clinical trial sites and patients. I felt a career with UBC would be more purposeful… and I was right.

If you are looking for a new opportunity where every day you feel like you are contributing to a better cause, I suggest you consider a career at UBC.