Steps for Attracting Patient Participants in Clinical Trials

December 14, 2014
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Engaging a broad range of participants is an important step for reliable data collection and usable outcomes. Today’s clinical study standards demand more patient participants and longer commitments.

Engaging a broad range of participants is an important step for reliable data collection and usable outcomes. Today’s clinical study standards demand more patient participants and longer commitments. The pulse of the industry is reflected by a plethora of articles from professional sources like the Boston Globe, highlighting the fact that the cost of bringing a new drug to the market is now averaging over $2.5 billion. Often, expensive delays or grant denials are based on a lack of quality patient participation. In a world of smartphones and constant contact, finding ways to modernize the process is a fundamental necessity. The undeniable fact is that without buy-in from patients, even the best trials won’t succeed.Clinical Trial Recruitment

Marketing to an individual

Connect with your audience. Emphasize that they are a critical component of the project. A high percentage of participants report that the main reason they get involved in a trial is with the hopes to make a real difference. Orexigen’s cutting-edge clinical trial recruitment is just one example of companies that are thinking outside of the normal, slow, third-party recruitment processes and coming out ahead of the curve. They realize that in today’s society, online marketing materials are critical, providing webpages with the intimate details and visionary motivation of the project, highlighting how participation makes them an integral piece of the ground breaking potential. Speeches get forgotten and flyers, thrown away. A quickly bookmarked website gives participants something to take with them, show others, and feel genuinely connected to.

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Try New, Modern Marketing Channels

Though traditional marketing channels (Radio, Print, TV and Physician Referrals) will always be a portion of your marketing budget/strategy to drive patient involvement, don’t be afraid to try new digital channels. Online advertising for clinical trials is an effective (and efficient) means of finding new, qualified patients for your clinical trial. Advanced tracking metrics through Google Adwords, Facebook or Bing Ads provides detailed lead and referral tracking (media source and keywords). These metrics allow recruiters to optimize their programs consistently, driving the cost-per-referral of a qualified patient lower than traditional media channels. 

Openly address concerns

Many clinical trials make the mistake of avoiding hard topics like confidentiality. Instead, address them head-on from the get-go, so that fears of being treated differently or pressure to respond in any particular manner can be completely quelled. Keep testimonials from past participants on an easily accessable website so that the patient can peruse them at their leisure.

Involve and inform

Educated participants are significantly more likely to remain engaged for the full length of the study, as well as to reengage in future trials and spread the word to others. Staying connected via Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks helps you integrate both the individual trial, as well as the concepts of clinical studies as a whole, in a natural way that can be both educational and personal. The benefits that social media offers to the clinical research world have been touted by healthcare organizations like, iHealthBeat for years.

Overlooking the importance of proper patient participation recruitment can be devastating to a study, stopping clinical trials in their tracks. Studies from the Tutfs CSDD put forth best practices and lessons learned for safely and effectively using technology for both patient recruitment and retention.

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The success of clinical trials is highly dependent on the ability to adapt and develop modern marketing strategies that interweave the participants more closely with the study itself, aligning medical research with today’s world of perpetual interconnectivity.