Inclusion and Diversity in Clinical Research: BEKhealth CEO Joins BioFuture Panel to Discuss Efforts to Close the Gap

Accessibility and inclusion are challenges that persist across the clinical research industry. Historically, smaller medical centers and clinics in underserved communities have lacked access to the tools and resources that would enable them to offer clinical research to their patients. As a result, research sponsors miss opportunities to include more diverse patients in trials, and individuals suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses miss the opportunity to access therapies that might extend or improve quality of life.

At the recently concluded BioFuture conference, BEKhealth CEO Jason Baumgartner joined a panel discussion alongside industry experts to address the pervasive challenge of access in research. Jason explained how the increased prevalence of EMR data systems, combined with the tools BEKhealth offers, can change the equation and tackle the challenges of equity and inclusion.

Just 10 years ago, only 5 percent of medical practices had some form of an electronic patient data platform. Today, that number has increased to 95 percent. Even though these systems were designed to help hospitals and physicians streamline billing and patient data, BEKhealth’s platform essentially turns any EMR into a tool for facilitating clinical research with its ability to read and aggregate structured and unstructured data and deliver to clinical sites or decentralized trial providers visibility around new patient populations.

BEKhealth also allows research sponsors to consider new sites when fielding a protocol. Too many sponsors are creatures of habit and revert to the sites they’ve used in the past, further stifling diversity. By enabling sponsors to clearly see the population sets available at new sites, including those in underserved communities or far-flung locations well outside the footprint of a major hospital center, sponsors will have greater confidence to move outside their comfort zone and run studies at sites that would never have previously been considered, further closing the equity and diversity gap.

All panel participants agreed that the research industry has an obligation to strive for true health equity. Meeting the challenge will require collaboration among companies and partners within the research ecosystem. In bringing its technology solutions to satellite offices, healthcare facilities, and underfunded clinics, BEKhealth is doing its part to make research more accessible and available to diverse populations.

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