Top 3 Reasons People Participate in Clinical Trials

October 20, 2014
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One of the biggest challenges clinical trial marketers face is patient recruitment. Whether you are targeting your efforts online or are using more traditional methods of recruitment—or both—it is essential to understand the underlying reasons people sign up for a clinical trial. Identifying these motivating factors will help you to more successfully appeal to potential participants. Here are three of the top reasons people participate in a clinical trial.


1. Altruism

One of the biggest challenges clinical trial marketers face is patient recruitment. Whether you are targeting your efforts online or are using more traditional methods of recruitment—or both—it is essential to understand the underlying reasons people sign up for a clinical trial. Identifying these motivating factors will help you to more successfully appeal to potential participants. Here are three of the top reasons people participate in a clinical trial.


1. Altruism

clinical trialsIt may surprise you, but the number one reason healthy people sign up for a clinical trial is because they want to help. A 2000 study found that 85% of participants in clinical trials volunteered because they wanted to either advance science or help find a cure. A more recent 2013 survey found similar results: 86% of participants cited the opportunity to improve the health of others as a main factor for their enrollment. Therefore, clinical trial marketers should clearly outline for participants how the study could benefit others in the future and improve their quality of life.

2. Financial incentives

While it’s nice to imagine that every participant is acting out of the goodness of his or her heart, financial incentives are also a primary motivating factor. Financial motivators may include payments, free physical exams or tests, and other forms of free healthcare. These factors can be essential in recruiting healthy participants who, unlike a patient volunteer, may not have any other motivating factors other than altruism.

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Healthy participants often form the control group for clinical trials, and are, therefore, essential to the success of the project. In a 2013 poll, 78% of respondents said that being paid to participate in a clinical trial would be an important factor in their decision to participate. In order to attract these individuals, marketers should focus on the benefits offered, such as any monetary compensation or other quantitative benefits, such as free medical care.

3. Trusted recommendations

The same 2013 poll indicates that 72% of people would likely participate in a clinical trial if their doctor recommended it. However, 70% said their doctor or medical professional has never discussed medical research or clinical trials with them. In fact, most people polled heard about clinical trials through the Internet or in the media.

This research illustrates the importance of working with physicians to educate them about your clinical trial. In turn, asks physicians to help identify potential participants, and stress the benefits of participation for their patients. The cooperation of physicians is one of the most effective tools marketers have to successfully recruit patients for clinical trials.

Understanding why people participate in clinical trials is essential for recruitment. Highlighting the scientific merits of a study, the financial benefits to participants, and encouraging physician participation will improve your success in recruiting clinical trial participants.