Getting good participation in your clinical trial not only helps people get access to the latest drugs and medical procedures, but having a varied cross section of people in your trial helps increase its statistical validity.
In the not so distant past, finding people who qualified for your clinical trial meant contacting doctors and running print ads, hoping that the right patients would learn of your project. While those methods still work, Internet marketing has made it easy and affordable to get the word out about your trial to people who wouldn't otherwise learn about it.
Using Internet marketing to promote your clinical trial
Patients are increasingly looking to the Internet for health-related information. In fact, nearly 60 percent of Internet users have accessed health care information on the Web in the last 12 months.
For those running a clinical trial, Internet marketing extends your reach way beyond your immediate geographic area and helps to solve one of the main obstacles of such a trial--finding enough qualified people quickly. How can you make Internet marketing work for your trial? Consider the following:
1. Sort by demographics on social media. Facebook and several other social media sites allow you to target your advertising to just those users who fall into certain demographic categories, such as women over 50 who live in New England. This allows you to limit your advertising to only those people who could qualify for your trial.
2. Interact with potential participants before the trial. Answering questions and concerns via social media can help to squelch concerns that might otherwise cause a potential participant to decide against a trial. The Internet provides a non-threatening forum for discussing such concerns. Online surveys may also be used for web visitors who have expressed an interest in the trial. This can be another qualification technique used to easier identify those patients that match the inclusion criteria.
3. Enlist the aid of a health care library or association. You don't necessarily have to promote your clinical trial all by yourself. Many health care organizations, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI), offer promotional pages that list current clinical trials. Obviously, tying in with a nationally recognized organization like NCI can help your trial get noticed more easily.
The increased interest by the general public in obtaining health information via online channels can assist clinical trials in moving forward more quickly and reach participants that might not have access to traditional recruitment channels. Such advertising helps both the research and patients to have access to the most recent medical technology.