Thursday, October 13, 2016

3 keys to patient centricity in clinical trials

There was a lot of talk on patient centricity and sustainable patient recruitment for clinical trials at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials US conference this October in Boston. We've gathered some of the key takeaways from industry leaders.

While speaking on utilizing technology solutions to talk to patients, Melanie Goodman, Patient Recruitment Planning at ICON, emphasized two big ideas. Firstly, it’s important to have an understanding of where our audience is, so we can provide them with the information in a timely manner and via the platform they are using. And secondly, we have to understand who the patients are as consumers, and Patient Profiling helps with that.

1) What is a Patient Profile?

In order to answer this question, we first need to address some of the following questions:

    - What are the people looking for?
    - How are they looking for it?
    - Who are we looking for?
    - How can the new technology help patients?
    - How do we understand our patients?

Social listening comes in handy when tapping into the conversations taking place on various social media platforms. Social listening helps identifying the influencers – those who influence patients’ decisions; it helps to monitor spikes of stories and engagement; it helps to learn the language patients use to describe their symptoms, but also it provides a way to watch the conversations as they unfold.

“It’s important we talk about the disease the way the patients do.” 
- Melanie Goodman

When crafting a patient profile you also want to learn:

- Where do the people gather the information from?
- Where do they interact with us?
- Who are the trusted informational sources?
- Do they belong to patient advocacy groups? Patient blogs or communities?
- Importantly, are the people on social sites? Because if your patient is not on social media, you don’t approach them there.

2) What’s the acquisition cost of the patient, and what is his lifetime value?

We need to figure out how to keep the patients in, otherwise we will spend a lot of money and time recruiting new people.

Too frequently an issue raises around signing an informed consent which is often 15-20 pages long and written in legal, often non-conclusive language that makes it harder for the research participant to comprehend the information about the trial process.

Michael Tucker, Director at Mytrus, talked about how to take on the patient centric approach and help patients help us. For example, there are many ways of conveying a consent such video, print or online. All patients are different, and they prefer different channels to consume content. We need to make this step forward to make it easier for the patients.

91% of patients would not participate in research if they knew they wouldn't learn the results

There are also different ways of educating patients on how the trials go, and all participants want to know the results of their participation. Let’s make sure we provide what’s valuable for them and not just what is convenient for us.

Another issue is that many patients do not participate in clinical trials because they do not live near a trial site. We have many more people who would be interested in participating, and now there is a a way – VR!

3) Being patient centric also means understanding their story

Partnerships in Clinical Trials speak on patient retention.
The voice of the patient needs to be incorporated. Little things matter, and you are going to make the clinical trial experience much more reliable and easier by paying attention to the participants’ individual needs. By meeting patients halfway and provide them with what they need, we establish trust that can help reduce the clinical trial dropout rate which according to Forte Research is 30%, and save sponsors' money. 

Patient centricity means making a difference in the design of the clinical trials. Instead of being transactional we strive to maintain a relationship with patients and leverage this opportunity to the maximum.

Read more from Partnerships in Clinical Trials US:

About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Content Manager at Knect365, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, content marketing and marketing analysis. She can be reached at or @Ksenia_Newton

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