Quintiles has solidified its commitment to the digital space as a channel for patient engagement and recruitment to clinical trials by pooling its online communities and digital expertise in a Digital Patient business unit.

Headed by David Coman, formerly senior vice president, communications and patient recruitment at Quintiles, the new unit will sell its patient-engagement services directly to biopharmaceutical customers while working internally with other business units to develop and deliver innovative recruitment and engagement programmes, the US-based biopharmaceutical services provider explained.

Coman retains his position as senior vice president communications & patient recruitment, as well as heading up the Digital Patient unit.

At the heart of the Digital Patient business unit sit two existing Quintiles communities, www.ClinicalResearch.com and www.MediGuard.org.

The former, with some 165,000 registered users to date, features information and perspectives on clinical studies for and from patients, caregivers, healthy volunteers and healthcare professionals, as well as a global database of ongoing trials searchable by location and condition.

MediGuard.org, which was launched in 2007 and has attracted more than 2.5 million registered users, is a free medication monitoring service that includes safety alerts, drug recalls, updates and checks for possible drug interactions.

Better management

The rationale for the consolidated unit is to provide patients with information that can help them better manage their personal health and with opportunities to participate in clinical research, observational studies and programmes for improved condition management.    

“Today, patients are as likely to seek information online about personal health as they are about the weather,” Coman commented.

 “By unifying our digital patient resources, we will be better able to deliver proper content to patients while providing our customers with a more efficient channel to find the appropriate people who may be interested in participating in clinical, observational or disease management programmes.”

Google it

Quintiles is hoping to expand its MediGuard community further by drawing in users from the now defunct Google Health platform.

Coman said the company was “extending an open invitation” to all those patients whose service with Google Health ended when the platform closed down on 1 January 2012.

With its dedicated function of medication monitoring to support patient safety, MediGuard has “built a community on a scale that Google seemed to feel was not going to be possible for its health platform”, he added.