Blog: CNS Summit 2022 – Boca was buzzing with patient-centricity

By Bruce Hellman
Chief Patient Officer and Co-Founder of uMotif


For the first time this year I attended the Collaborating for Novel Solutions (CNS) Summit, held in Boca Raton, Florida, with over 1,000 people attending on-site and virtually. What a conference it was! Fantastic debate, insightful sessions, and a genuine feeling that we’re collectively making a difference for research and ultimately patient care.

Over the 4 days of the conference, I had the pleasure to meet inspiring people, listen to insightful sessions, and show hundreds of people our new technology platform. This was particularly exciting as during the Summit we announced that our patented motif interface has been scientifically validated – the first ePRO innovation since paper migrated to smartphones.

So, what did I take away?

We’re moving beyond ‘DCT-everything’

Not surprisingly, ‘Decentralized Clinical Trials’ was the focus of a number of sessions. The general feeling from speakers and audience members was that the industry needs to move beyond this umbrella, catch-all and sometimes divisive term. It can be confusing and misleading – particularly at the site and HCP-level – and buckets too many services, solutions and technologies together. The key now is for each solution to be clear in what it provides – for example, uMotif contributes towards DCT designs through our technology that engages patients to capture huge volumes of eCOA/ePRO, eDiary, wearable device and other data.

I enjoyed hearing from sponsors how they are pragmatically looking at each study, and seeking to do the right thing for their research, and most importantly for the patients involved. Coining the DCT term has given impetus to adopting digital methods, and underlines how trials can be taken to new communities to help increase diversity and access. However, many felt that DCT became too much of the goal; rather than the goal being to deliver a great study focused around patients.

True patient-centricity is the future

The balance to the DCT tech focus was the re-emergence of truly putting the patient first and at the center of the trial. By doing so we can ensure that patients feel like participants, actively being part of the research, and valued for their contribution.

Our CEO, Steve Rosenberg, led a lively panel discussion with Clare Grace from Parexel, Kathy Vanderbelt from Oracle, Andrea Valente from ClinOne and Georgia Mitsi formerly of Biogen. If the discussion, and vibe from the audience, is anything to go by – we’re now entering a new era where all partners in delivering research understand and appreciate the imperative to start first with the patient, and then design a trial, solutions and technologies that help patients.

Working together generates the best results

One thing that stood out from a vendor perspective was the design of the conference. The exhibition hall was only open for two hours per day. The rest of the time was dedicated to attendees mixing and meeting each other; or spent in the presentation, Town Hall and plenary sessions. This generates a real feeling of everyone pulling in the same direction – pharma, biotech, CROs, tech vendors and innovative service providers. The clue is in the name of the conference: ‘Collaborating’. That certainly comes across, and from my perspective it generates a more useful and exciting few days of discussions.

Thanks to the CNS Summit leaders and organizers, and we look forward to seeing you in Boston for the 2023 edition!