Improving the patient experience in clinical trial recruitment

Clinical trials are crucial to advancing medical breakthroughs and bringing new therapies or treatments to market. However, for research studies to be effective, it is vital that patients take part. Unfortunately, many clinical trials are not designed with a patient-centered approach. Patients often report being unsatisfied with the experience of study participation and even report discouraging others from taking part in a trial.

Sponsors of clinical trials must implement strategies to improve the patient experience. Not only can trial delays and recruitment struggles be costly, but they can also significantly hinder the life-changing breakthroughs that can result from research. Below, we will explore the concept of patient-centric clinical trials and present smart strategies that sponsors can use every stage of the study to improve the patient experience.

What is patient centricity in clinical trials?

Designing and executing patient-centric clinical trials involves considering the patient’s perspective at every part of the study. This means optimizing the entire design from recruitment outreach and enrollment processes to patient participation.

To do this, it is vital to understand the patient experience. For example, a patient survey about clinical trial enrollment statistics reported that travel difficulties were the number one reason that patients dropped out of a trial, followed by a lack of appreciation from the staff. By understanding what matters most to patients and addressing those concerns directly, sponsors and participants can have a better research experience.

Patient centricity for clinical trial recruitment

Adopting a patient-centric approach to clinical trial recruitment requires understanding the target population and identifying the most effective methods to reach them. While the specifics may vary based on the condition area of each study, the following are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Use imagery and copy likely to resonate with the target audience, making sure to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and symptom portrayal
  • Ensure outreach copy is clear, concise, and gives patients as many details as character count restrictions allow
  • Make landing pages that are informative and clearly outline inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Highlight the benefits of participation often (i.e. travel reimbursement, short study duration, access to specialized treatment)

Patient centricity for clinical trial enrollment

After connecting with patients through outreach materials, the next step is to ensure that the enrollment process goes as smoothly as possible. Many patients report that consistent and reliable communication is one of the most important factors in their overall trial experience, and communication in these early stages is especially important. Some strategies for patient-centric enrollment include:

  • Select trial site locations strategically to cut down on patients’ travel requirements
  • Make sure pre-screeners are easy to access and understand
  • Provide patients with a clear timeline for when they can expect to hear from a call center
  • Give call center staff access to in-depth training and ample information about each individual trial
  • Coordinate to ensure call center staff are referring patients when sites are ready to process them in order to avoid delays
  • Communicate the next steps with patients at the end of every conversation

Patient centricity for clinical trial participants

Once a patient has been randomized into the clinical trial, it is essential to foster a strong rapport with site staff. Patients that are informed and feel appreciated are much more likely to have a positive trial experience. Here are some ways to make that a reality:

  • Keep up with regular communications and trial updates
  • Provide participants with status reports, as appropriate
  • Make the reimbursement structure clear if compensation is offered
  • Ensure site staff are familiar with the trial and knowledgeable enough to answer patient questions
  • Thank patients for their participation 

At Antidote, we provide end-to-end recruitment services to ensure that study participants have a great experience from beginning to end. From outreach to site management, contact us today to learn more about what we do.