Advancements in digital technology have the potential to transform clinical trials. But some patients remain hesitant.
Technology is helping to facilitate a patient-centric future by giving patients the tools they need to take control of their health. But despite the notable benefits of these innovations, clinical trial patients are often slow to adopt new tools.
Technology such as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and wearable devices is designed to harness innovations in data-gathering to improve the patient experience. For instance, IoT sensors help researchers collect, analyze, and transmit patient data, offering real-time monitoring capabilities. Further, wearable devices expand access to care by enabling patients to participate in clinical trials remotely.
Yet hesitancy among patients is understandable. Although healthcare technology is becoming more user-friendly, obstacles to widespread adoption still persist. Many new tools are not developed with patient preferences in mind, but there are simple ways sponsors and CROs can make these innovations more accessible.
Obstacles to Patient Access
So what is keeping clinical trial patients from adopting new healthcare tools? Firstly, many people are concerned about privacy and how their data will be used. Other patients do not have adequate internet service, making it difficult for them to review data or communicate with medical professionals.
Even when patients are able to use online portals, they still encounter obstacles when attempting to access their information. Patient portals promise a “one-size-fits-all” approach, but the reality often falls short. Interoperability issues make it difficult to accommodate patients attempting to access medical records through different channels or devices.
Making Technology More Patient-Centric
Sponsors and CROs can help by promoting positive attitudes toward digital healthcare tools. By proactively responding to patient concerns, clinical trials encourage patients to embrace digital technologies. In turn, offering access to these tools can help sponsors and CROs improve clinical trial recruitment rates.
Clinical trials can begin by boosting their digital presence. This includes targeting patients through Facebook ads, SEO, and PPC. By using keywords and patient demographic information, sponsors and CROs can connect patients with the trials that are most relevant to them.
To enhance the patient experience, it’s important to ensure that clinical trial websites utilize clear, functional design. This means directing patients to a user-friendly landing page that directly addresses pain points — including potential side effects and relevant outcomes. Making the experience as easy and direct as possible establishes patient trust and increases the chance of conversion.
Motivating Patients to Embrace New Tools
Encouraging patients to adopt digital health tools begins with healthcare professionals. 35 percent of patients would be interested in trying new technologies if they were recommended by healthcare providers. Similarly, medical researchers can use their expertise to reassure patients that their data will be kept secure and that the technologies are likely to produce favorable outcomes.
Sponsors and CROs can also improve patient trust by reaching out to them through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. By sharing information that addresses patients’ concerns about privacy and emphasizes potential benefits, sponsors and CROs can increase public confidence in digital tools. As patients embrace new technology, they’ll likely become more engaged with their care and therefore more interested in joining cutting-edge clinical research.