Event company

Psychiatrist brings a patient-focused perspective to a clinical enterprise

The mdgroup team, a full specialist in clinical research services, is focused on helping clients run clinical trials by offering a range of personalized study services. Arthur Lazarus, who recently joined the team as Chief Medical Officer, brings to the table a wealth of industry experience, which he will use in his mission to help expand the company’s mobile health offerings.

Dr. Lazarus’ background in clinical development, patient safety and medical marketing brings a wealth of experience to mdgroupsaid Tarquin Scadding-Hunt, CEO. “Our philosophy is that if you start with excellence, you produce excellence, and I believe Dr. Lazarus will help us achieve even greater excellence in our mobile health services and beyond.​.”

At mdgroup, Lazarus said, staff strive to infuse a patient-centric approach into every step of the process they touch, starting with recruitment, site engagement, patient retention and clinical results. What sets the company apart, he said, is the use of the different perspectives of staff – acquired by working with a wide variety of organizations around the world and from different backgrounds – and their prioritization. of the patient.

“Remarkable” is a word that comes up quite often – our patients are remarkable and we provide remarkable care – other than the fact that there aren’t many players in the field of decentralized clinical trials, to begin with.“, did he declare. “They hire great people and work effortlessly and tirelessly to ensure a great patient experience and results.​.”

This patient-centered approach is consistent with the Lazarus philosophy.

My goal with mdgroup is to support all phases of the organization’s operations that impact, or potentially impact, patient care.“, did he declare. “They were beginning to realize that even though they were primarily involved in clinical trial operations or parts of all clinical trials, there was a need for medical knowledge and services, so they wanted to hire a doctor.​.”

Lazarus said he works about 15 hours a week with the company but is nonetheless very involved, starting with the bidding process. He reviews protocols to ensure that they are medically sound and appropriate, that goals can realistically be achieved, and that mdgroup is able to deliver what they are contracted to do.

Additionally, his perspective as a physician highlighted the importance of staffing trials with qualified personnel, suited to the condition at the center of a study.

Arthur Lazarus, Medical Director, mdgroup

One of the challenges of decentralized clinical trials is ensuring that you have the same level of specialization“, did he declare. “Some of these tests require very detailed examinations, and they are associated with specific questionnaires which could have an impact on the primary or secondary outcome variables. Not all providers are created equal, so we need to find the right healthcare provider for this.​.”

While Lazarus observed and experimented a lot during his career before joining mdgroup, now is an interesting time in mental health drug development, he said.

In terms of psychiatry and mental health right now we are facing glorious opportunities in the field that we have not seen in the past half century.remarked Lazare. “Especially in the area of ​​depression and major depressive disorder, over the last few decades there have really only been a few different classes of drugs on the market, all acting in very similar ways.​.”

Overall, however, he thinks the area deserves more attention and respect.

After seeing the whole field of mental health, he became a son-in-law of medicine“, he remarked. “It’s an afterthought, and it’s not well funded at all – its consequences are underrecognized and undervalued – not only in terms of patients, but also of the workforce itself, such as health care providers, doctors and other​.”

One of the reasons Lazarus thinks the industry should pay more attention to the patient at the center of the system, especially when it comes to his mental health, is that the treatments he receives for his condition often have a impact on his mental state.

Anyone dealing with a chronic medical condition, to some degree, reacts emotionally to it, and it needs to be addressed.“, did he declare. “About one in five patients with a chronic medical condition at some point in their life may develop major depressive disorder, so there is a significant interaction between general practice and psychiatry​.”

And, Lazarus observed that much of the rest of the overall clinical research and healthcare industry could be improved in terms of a patient-centric approach.

People in the United States have been talking about patient-centered care and building the health system for a decade or more.“, he remarked. “Instead, we have become so specialized, even super-specialized, that now patients fall through the cracks.​.”

Additionally, he said, the level of conversation about the importance of increasing the inclusiveness of the patient population may not match what has been achieved.

There’s an elephant in the room – with diversity and inclusiveness, clinical trials haven’t done a great job in this area, and we’re fully aware of this issue.“, did he declare. “There has been a disconnect in many clinical trials, in which the populations they study are not representative of the disease in question. This calls for more black and African American patients, Latino patients, Asian patients, etc. be enrolled in clinical trials.​.”

The decentralized format, Lazarus pointed out, offers opportunities to reach these underrepresented populations because the studies can be brought to them, rather than forcing them to travel potentially significant distances to survey the sites.

Unfortunately, he commented, he has observed that achieving diversity and inclusiveness in patient populations is often given lower priority status.

It’s often the path of least resistance to simply enroll patients – any patients you can get your hands on and enroll, so the higher-order goals of diversity and inclusiveness are sometimes overlooked or circumvented to quickly enroll patients and meet clinical trial deadlines, where speed to market is paramount,” he said.

At the 2022 Summit for Clinical Ops Executives (SCOPE) meeting in February, Lazarus presented on the appropriate selection of healthcare professionals for remote patient visits. During the event, Lazarus remarked that he felt encouraged by the event’s focus on the patient, especially as the industry moves into its post-COVID phase.

Now that we are back to something resembling normal business, there is a growing awareness of the benefits that DCTs can offer, such as expanding participation and increasing diversity, as well as the pitfalls potentials associated with reduced face-to-face site visits – namely, disengagement with protocol which can contribute to poor retention“, did he declare. “This year’s SCOPE recognized this crucial point​.”

Going forward, Lazarus said it will work to support the company’s efforts to expand its DCT services and keep the patient at the center.

Advocacy cuts across the entire organization – it’s a key role not just for me, but for all employees“, did he declare. “It’s what we all are​.”