5 ways technology can improve clinical trial patient recruitment

Are you facing clinical trial patient recruitment challenges? Technology can help. There are many digital solutions that improve the recruitment process, from finding patients to prescreening and enrolling them into trials. Consider these helpful ways technology can improve the patient experience and accelerate enrollment into your trial, and take a look at our list of clinical trial patient recruitment companies if you're interested in connecting with one that specializes on the digital front.

Reach patients where they are

As of March 2021, ClinicalTrials.gov received about 4.5 million visitors monthly. Many of these visitors are patients looking for help on a website with over 400,000 trial listings. It's a frustrating and often unsuccessful search experience. Instead, consider bringing the trial directly to the patient. Reach them where they are online. 

When putting together an outreach plan, consider where your patient community spends time online, and choose your targeting accordingly. Social media platforms are a great place to start. With nearly 4 billion social media users online at any given time, reaching your patients where they are (most places in the world) is a real possibility. 

Connect with patient organizations and advocates for collaboration opportunities and guidance on the best way to reach and speak to patients. At Antidote, we have a partner network of more than 250 advocacy organizations to obtain these kinds of patient insights. These trustworthy resources can help you better understand patient motivation to participate in research and help you craft recruitment materials that will resonate best. 

Launch, learn, and optimize throughout a campaign

“Set it and forget it” is not a path to digital advertising success. Making adjustments throughout a campaign is particularly helpful for reaching a specific patient population and enables advertisers to test different messaging, keywords, and interest targeting. Follow these tips to set up an A/B test correctly to get usable results:

  • Test one variable at a time: Elements of an ad that you can test include images, headlines, and call to action (CTA) buttons.
  • Set a goal: Decide how you'll measure success. Will you measure success based on clicks, pre-screener completions, etc.?
  • Use a control: After you've run one A/B test, you can use the winner as your control variable in your next test.
  • Make sure your results are statistically significant: Kissmetrics has a calculator that can help determine how statistically significant the results of your A/B test are.

Running a well-designed A/B test takes a little extra time, but your results can lead to better and more predictable campaign performance. Certain advertising platforms can automatically optimize copy variations and provide AI-driven combinations of images, headlines, and CTAs. Some recruitment companies are able to use data from previous campaigns to create lookalike audiences and find patients online with similar characteristics to those from other projects, too.

Overall, testing messaging and imagery will help you pinpoint the best ways to engage with patients and learn what will motivate them to participate in research.

Create a way for patients to connect with additional trials

Patient recruitment can be one of the most difficult aspects of running a clinical trial. According to CISCRIP’s 2021 Perceptions and Insights Study, 77% of Americans are at least somewhat willing to participate in a trial. If a patient expresses interest in a trial but finds out that they're not qualified, many are unaware of other options and end up not participating in future clinical trial opportunities.

Digital recruitment captures opted-in patient information to enable patient recruitment companies to instantly share other trial opportunities that arise in the future. When you reach out to patients who have already raised their hands to participate, you're more likely to find engaged patients willing to take the next steps. A clinical trial patient recruitment company may use a database of patients that have expressed interest in previous trials or in clinical trials in general. At Antidote, for example, when we're working on a trial in a condition that we've recruited for in the past, our team will reach out to patients who may not have been eligible for the previous trials in that condition, but who have expressed interest in participating in the future. This digital solution allows for lower recruitment costs.

Gather more information about patients upfront

In addition to reaching the right patients through ads, digital recruitment tools allow you to gather information on patients upfront. A prescreener, which is a digital survey that asks patients about themselves and their condition, helps identify potentially qualified patients early in the process. Using a prescreener has multiple positive implications: based on patients’ answers, it lets recruitment companies better govern the flow of patients (sending them to engaged sites) while also giving insight based on how they answer the questions. This gives marketers the tools they need to adjust ad copy, keyword targeting, and the prescreener itself. 

Create an easy-to-follow patient experience

While traditional media, such as radio ads and billboards, may reach a large audience, it can be difficult for patients to know what to do next. Through digital advertising, you can easily guide patients to the next step, whether that's answering questions on a prescreener or learning more about your trial on a landing page. 

If you capture a patient's email address and phone number, you can reach out via e-mail, phone, and SMS. Some clinical trial recruitment companies have a team dedicated to following up with patients. Studies show that patients expect some kind of follow-up. If they are not called within 48 hours, they lose interest in taking part. Follow-up can help lower costs by reducing the number of patients who start the process and don't follow through, and save time by proactively reminding patients and sites to take the next step.

You can also use digital ads to re-target patients who visit your website or pre-screener but drop off somewhere along the digital journey.

Learn more about how Antidote uses our unique technology and digital marketing skills to connect patients with research by downloading our case studies.