That’s not all. Dr. Owens says some sites opened offices early. They stayed open late. They helped with transportation so the women could get to the clinics that were sometimes out of their neighborhood. They provided food because the women had to fast for blood draws. The team used a vendor who developed an app to send texts alerts to the patients, and finally someone was available every day and at any time.
“All the sites had my cell phone number and could call me 24/7 for questions or concerns. Accessibility and trust are important,” says Dr. Owens.
That accessibility was critical during 2017 during Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria. In Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas for example, the study sites and AbbVie team went above and beyond to make sure they stayed connected with the women and the study staff despite the disaster that displaced people and left some clinics without power for weeks.
“The commitment to keep this clinical trial true to the patient population is rare and really impressive,” says Blount of Dr. Owens’ work. “She was respectful. She valued the women and that message came across loud and clear.”
BWHI plans to continue partnering with AbbVie. Blount says as the society’s racial and ethnic composition continues to evolve, clinical trials and studies need to keep up with those changes so that every group has a chance at better health.