If you’re running or sponsoring a clinical trial, you know that there’s no shortage of challenges: the complexity, the regulations, the costs. With a list that goes on and on, one thing is clear – you can’t afford to have qualified participants pass up your trial or drop out after joining.
Finding and keeping potential participants engaged is essential to reach endpoints faster and provide a better trial experience. So what are the components you need to optimize patient engagement in your trial?
Let’s dive in.
Do your homework.
Effective engagement starts with developing a deep understanding the people you’re hoping to reach -where they live, work, and play. You need to appreciate the unique challenges they face and identify what they need most in terms of resources for managing their health.
The best way to do this is by performing a landscape analysis of the target participant population. This means utilizing cutting-edge social listening tools, deploying quick-turn surveys, and conducting in-depth interviews.
The insights you gather at this stage are critical for ensuring the long-term success of your trial.
Find a message that works.
Once you’ve spent some time determining exactly who your potential participants are and listening to how they talk, you should have a better understanding of how to communicate information about your trial in ways that will resonate with them. Each recruitment asset and educational resource you produce needs to integrate a consistent voice that instills trust, offers partnership, and inspires action.
Take it a step further, though: once you’ve developed your message and materials, vet them with actual members of your target audience using quick-turn, remote focus groups. It’s a small investment to ensure you’re striking the right tone and setting yourself up for a speedy start and a steady stream of participants.
Reach the right people.
Remember those social listening and surveying efforts that helped you determine what to say to your target audience? They also provide a wealth of information about where your audience spends its time online – the social networks, discussion boards, and websites where you’re most likely to reach them with information about your opportunity.
In some cases, the best place to reach them may not be online at all. Understanding who they trust in their communities and partnering with those people to share information about your trial may be the surest approach for filling your recruitment funnel.
It’s important to keep in mind that every person who meets your diagnostic criteria or treatment history may not be a good fit for your trial. Depending on things like frequency of site visits, time required per visit, travel time, and so on, participating in your trial may be prohibitive for people who are otherwise qualified. In addition to pre-screening potential candidates, it’s important to educate people about what to expect so they can make this determination and decision before taking up limited time and budget from study site resources, which are already stretched thin.
Make the most of every opportunity.
You’ve worked hard to get your message in front of the right people, so it’s imperative to derive as much value as possible from each person who shows interest. If you begin engaging potential participants early enough, you can gather valuable feedback for informing protocol design and study operations.
Once your trial has launched, a seasoned team of intake specialists can ensure that every person who opts in to learn about your trial has a positive experience. The result? High-quality, pre-vetted candidates referred directly to trial sites, freeing up site staff to focus on key non-recruitment activities.
Don’t wait until the end of your trial to analyze what went well and what could be improved. Deploying regular pulse surveys to your participants is a powerful way to obtain actionable, in-trial insights about their experience. The data you obtain can inform the types of changes that can immediately enhance the participants’ trial experience without compromising the validity of the trial results.
Think engaging with patients ends once they’ve completed participation in the trial? Think again. Offering your participants a post-trial alumni program is an excellent way to enhance their overall experience and create compliant sponsor-patient relationships that can eventually support launch brand activities.
Treat people like people.
Remember: when it comes to choosing a clinical trial, people have more options than ever. You need to give them a reason to believe that your trial is the best choice available. That means seeing them as more than a number and taking a thoughtful, person-centered approach to your trial’s patient engagement strategy. Want to learn more about Reverba’s clinical solutions? Download our 10 Keys to Optimizing Clinical Trial Patient Engagement or contact us to schedule a meeting.