The most effective clinical trials combine virtual elements with onsite visits, giving patients the power to customize their own experiences.
The general public’s expectations for healthcare are expanding, and clinical trials will need to evolve in order to meet patients’ shifting needs. For instance, according to NTT DATA Services, 59% of patients would like their digital healthcare experiences to more closely resemble their digital retail experiences.
When it comes to clinical trials, greater personalization can help address the challenges of patient recruitment and retention. Commonly-cited obstacles to clinical trial participation are the time commitment and travel such participation often requires. In fact, in one survey, 42% of patients listed the inconvenience of travel as a reason for deciding not to participate in a clinical trial.
Fortunately, by attending to patient feedback and integrating digital technology into their trial designs, sponsors and CROs can build more efficient, patient-centric experiences. This, in turn, will drive increases in participation and compliance, as well as reduce patient dropout rates.
How to Personalize Clinical Trials
Digital technologies like telemedicine and remote monitoring are opening new doors for patients and providers. That said, conducting an entirely virtual clinical trial comes with its own set of challenges, and the process may not appeal to all participants. Oftentimes, the most patient-centric option is to integrate digital technology with traditional research methods, enabling patients to craft the experiences that fit their schedules and comfort levels.
True clinical trial personalization emphasizes the needs of the individual, and allows patients to choose their own treatment options whenever possible. For instance, virtual visits conducted via telehealth platforms are a convenient supplement to in-person site visits. They allow healthcare providers to check in with patients without asking them to make time-consuming trips to research centers. Additional patient-centric measures that emphasize convenience such as wearable devices minimize the burden of clinical trial participation and create positive experiences for patients.
Digital technology is also a cost-effective and user-friendly way to increase compliance and collect valuable data. Wearable devices can track patients’ vitals more comprehensively than a quick trip to the research center, and ingestible sensors can monitor drug dosage or even track a patient’s response to treatment.
Personalization and the Online Experience
Personalization is also helping transform the world of clinical trial marketing. To reach specific patient groups, sponsors and CROs can develop digital ads that appeal to users’ unique needs. PPC and social media advertising, for instance, allow trials to precisely target patients based on their age, location, gender, and interests. These ads are key to appealing to patients who are actively seeking out treatment.
In terms of patients’ online experiences, sponsors and CROs should ensure that trial websites are informative, aesthetically pleasing, and easy-to-navigate. Sites should be optimized for both desktop and mobile, allowing patients to quickly request additional materials or even enroll online.
Ultimately, opportunities for personalization exist at nearly every juncture of the clinical trial process, from recruitment to day-to-day engagement. Throughout these stages, it’s important for sponsors and CROs to keep in mind that patients are looking for simple and straightforward interactions that provide them with relevant information and allow them to choose the experiences that are right for them. By meeting patients’ needs both online and in-person, clinical trials can boost their visibility and, in turn, improve patient recruitment and retention.