Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.” – Joseph Pilates, German Pilates trainer
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of physical health more than ever. While people have started adopting a healthy diet and exercise routines, there’s still an apprehension towards visiting hospitals to ensure good health. Just as coronavirus enforced the new normal of social distancing, home clinical services will also be a must for clinical trials.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, patients weren’t keen on spending time visiting a hospital for a follow-up.
Mission TEC observed the strong need for home clinical services and entered the home care provider space with a mission of providing patient-centric services in a cordial environment. Further, Mission TEC integrated with POPSICUBE Group in 2014 to reduce the burden of the clinical trials for patients and allow investigators to recruit more as the workload is shared with the clinical flying nurses.
Fabrice Beauchene, CEO, and Sylvie Kahn, COO of Mission TEC have adapted a patient-centric approach since the start which has helped the company to establish its name among the renowned home care market.
In the following interview, the leadership team tells us more about how Mission TEC came to be, how the company has managed operations during the pandemic, and the company’s plans to take the home care services to a new level.
Please brief our audience about your company, its values, and the key aspects of its international stronghold in-home care provider space.
Mission TEC was created in 2002 to provide monitors to hospital investigators’, mainly in the Toulouse area (South of France) to manage transplantation studies. Mission TEC integrated the POPSI CUBE group in 2014 to start providing clinical services at home. Today, with a network of 150 nurses in France and around 20 local partners we can cover 53 countries to manage global studies.
Home clinical services have been fast-growing activity for 5 years. Carrying out clinical trial visits in the comfort of home, workplace or other location is now possible and highly appreciated by the patient. We make it easy for our clients to manage.
Tell us more about your home care solutions that make your company stand out from the competition?
GCP-trained clinical research nurses are not medical doctors and are not there to replace them. However, many of the routine visits in a trial protocol do not require specialist equipment or medical assessment. There are many protocols for which patients’ recruitment and retention would be much easier and with enhanced reliability using the flexibility of offsite visits.
Although performed outside of the hospital environment, the visit procedures happen the same way as at the study site. Serious adverse events are immediately reported to the investigator and appropriate action is taken when necessary. A courier collects samples, and the nurse disposes of sharp and clinical waste appropriately. Data can be entered directly onto EDC, or paper CRFs can be scanned and sent through smartphone and original copies returned by courier. Connected electronic medical (IoTs) devices can send in real-time all required measurements under the supervision of the clinical research nurse.
What is your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the global healthcare sector, and how has your company fared during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns?
April to September 2020 was a frozen period for us as most of the studies’ inclusion was stopped. Fortunately, we started getting more work since mid- September. With the COVID crisis, it becomes mandatory to think about adding Home Care Services in your protocol to avoid any disturbance during your clinical trial. MISSION TEC team is proud to work on some of the most important COVID projects. We have a chance to do a job that we love, which is meaningful and matters to everyone.
What is your opinion on the necessity for healthcare service providers to align their offerings with newer technological developments, especially when it comes to catering to changing patient preferences and needs?
At Mission TEC we have the chance to be part of the POPSI CUBE group which is a full-service CRO (on the sponsor side) with expertise in Clinical Research as well as in Digital. POPSI CUBE is known for developing innovative tools for a long time with its internal team of IT developers. The vision and motivation of POPSICUBE behind buying Mission TEC in 2014 was to get a field force to be able to deploy IoT and biosensors to patients in good conditions by proposing a network of clinical research nurses able to install, maintain, and explain these new technologies to the patient to guarantee the success of these virtual studies.
In your opinion, what could be the future of the healthcare services sector post the pandemic? And how are you strategizing your company’s operations for that future?
Home clinical services will become a must-to-have for your clinical trial as patients don’t want to waste their time at the hospital for a follow-up visit. Home visits reduce the burden of the clinical trials for patients, help for retention and allow investigators to recruit more as the workload is shared with the clinical flying nurses. And it’s not increasing the budget for the sponsor.
Participation in clinical trials can be difficult, emotionally and physically for many patients, preventing enrolment and impacting on retention. Also, new risks (virus) can disturb seriously the course of your clinical studies. Why not try a different approach and bring the trial to the patient? MISSION TEC can set up it now and everywhere!
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into healthcare services?
Put yourself in the patient’s shoes. We saw clinical protocol with 7 biosensors; just think about charging them all. Keep in mind that Clinical Research nurses are fully part of the investigator’s team. Clinical home services are performed under the supervision and responsibility of the site investigator. Be reasonable and patient centric.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations in 2021?
The main challenge for us today is to recruit and train nurses to be able to provide an international grid of constant and high-quality services. We saw that nurses are willing to participate in clinical trials. We are working to develop a Clinical Research Nurses Educational Program with LSLEAD (Life Sciences Leadership School in Paris) to help nurses provide specialized and professionalized services.
About the Leaders
Fabrice Beauchene, CEO
Fabrice is a chemist with a master’s degree in biostatistics and MPhil in energetic physiology. Fabrice has a year working in the French base in Antarctica as a Physiologist studying emperor penguins and over 20 years of experience in clinical drug development for the US Contract Research Organization (CRO) as well as for French and global pharmaceutical companies.
Fabrice also acts as International Informatics Project Manager for a pharmaceutical firm in charge of the implementation of clinical e-tools. Fabrice’s last employee job was as the Medical Project Manager at Pharmacia.
Sylvie Kahn, COO
Sylvie is a nurse by profession with more than 25 years of experience and expertise in the pharmaceutical industry. She started her career as a firefighter and in the intensive care unit. Further, she worked in pharma laboratories and Contract Research Organizations (CRO) in clinical research with effective management of teams and individuals, both in a matrix and structured environments.
Sylvie has gained extensive international experience throughout her career as CRA, Clinical Project Manager, GCP officer, Purchasing Manager, Methods and Training Manager, and later as Head of Corporate Operations at Pharmacia.
In 2004, when PFIZER acquired PHARMACIA, Fabrice and Sylvie, after working together for 2 years within Pharmacia decided to launch POPSI CUBE, to carry out a variety of clinical development projects with large and small international pharmaceutical or MedTech customers with the idea to merge clinical and digital research services.