How to Make Your Clinical Trial the Trial of Choice: When You Want to Get to Market Faster, Meeting Every Milestone Matters.

An attractive nurse discusses the recent results with another doctor during a consultation at the hospital. She is slightly smiling.

By: Reverba Clinical Partnerships Team

From first patient/first dose to data lock, everything depends on recruiting and retaining clinical trial participants. That can be quite challenging.

A 2022 editorial in Clinical Trials Arena noted that the biggest reason for trial termination is low accrual rates which have accounted for 25.4% of all terminated trials. The good news is that the rate of this decline has been steadily decreasing since 2010, partly a result of technology applications, digitization, and changes in the trial space as decentralized clinical trial (DCT) elements are being incorporated more frequently into studies. In recent years, positive changes have also been made in patient education and empowerment, but we still have room for improvement incorporating the patient voice from the beginning.

So what can we do to engage more patients in clinical trials? We believe the answer starts with getting a better understanding of what matters to people when it comes to participation.

As part of our mission to amplify experiences to create lasting, positive change in healthcare, we surveyed nearly 800 people with and without clinical trial experience. We wanted to know what they feel clinical trial sponsors can do to reduce friction, increase diversity and build true partnerships with patients.

Here’s what they told us …

The good news …

Interest in participating in trials is high—driven mostly by a desire to improve one’s own health and to get access to lower-cost treatment.

Most individuals who took part in clinical trials reported “somewhat” or “very” positive experiences—and the vast majority (93%) of those who had positive clinical trial experiences said that they were “very” or “extremely” interested in future opportunities. More than half (51%) of participants who reported neutral or negative experiences also were “very” or “extremely” interested in future trials.

Individuals who have never been in a trial are also interested in participation. 60% said they were “very” or “extremely” likely to participate.

So why aren’t more patients enrolling in clinical trials?

Challenge #1: Patients aren’t aware of clinical trial opportunities.

Nearly half (48%) of the people we surveyed had no clinical trial experience. Although most had seen ads for them, 24% were not aware of a clinical trial related to their condition, and 60% said they hadn’t participated in a clinical trial because they hadn’t been given the opportunity. To some degree, addressing that falls to providers. But sponsors and CROs also have a role to play—and tools to support them. To increase candidate engagement, reverbaLINK® reaches patients where they live, work and play, raising awareness of clinical trial opportunities. Following a digital screening, the Referral Portal can provide a warm handoff to an appropriate site, helping ensure that patients who want to participate in a clinical trial have the opportunity.

Challenge #2: Patients don’t know what to expect and may be nervous.

Even if a patient is aware of a clinical trial, taking the initiative to participate is a very big step. The patient may have concerns, hesitation, or may have never know anyone personally who has participated in a clinical trial. 74% of respondents who hadn’t participated in a clinical trial indicated they would be more likely to participate if they spoke to someone who had previous clinical trial experience. Reverba’s clinical mentor program provides the support and guidance to new clinical trial candidates, so they can be confident in the decision to participate in a clinical trial.

Challenge #3: Some patient communities mistrust the system.

The population participating in clinical trials isn’t always representative of the actual patient population, a phenomenon that is both reflective of and contributes to differing perceptions and experiences among different demographic groups.

The survey group included respondents who identified as Caucasian/White, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian and Other. Although all groups responded similarly to questions about practical convenience such as number of visits, travel time and time spent at the study site, Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) groups who had participated in a clinical trial were less positive about their experience than Caucasians/Whites. Only 75% of BIPOC respondents said their experience was “positive” or “very positive” compared to 95% of Caucasian/White respondents; 23% of BIPOC respondents said that their experience was “neutral.”

Perhaps it’s not surprising that, compared to Caucasian/Whites, BIPOC groups were less likely to trust sponsors to provide reliable information about how the treatment works. While only 1% of Caucasian/White respondents “not at all” or “not very much,” that figure rose to 24% among BIPOC respondents.

Bringing more diversity to clinical trials must start with building trust—by creating relationships with underrepresented communities and understanding their needs and inviting a more diverse group to participate in trials and involving trusted community members in patient recruitment.

Where to go from here.

Understanding how people think about clinical trials is the first step towards improving the experience you offer participants. Help achieve your 2024 goals by integrating the patient’s voice in your clinical strategy. Download our Clinical Trial Market Report here for more insights on how you can make more people aware of your trial, establish trust faster, and boost recruitment.

Contact us to schedule a personalized consultation focused on addressing your clinical challenges and how to optimize your trial to reach goals faster.