Simplifying the Patient Journey with Technology
Technology is swiftly evolving into an essential component of patient recruitment and retention for clinical research sites.
Clinical trial participants are the driving force behind medical breakthroughs. It is research sites who bear the essential responsibility of guiding participants along their journey through clinical trials. Since it is sites who are on the front lines of recruitment and retention, it’s up to them to simplify the process of joining and remaining in clinical trials for patients wherever possible. Thankfully, there are a variety of technological solutions available at the site level that help improve the patient’s clinical trial experience. A simplified patient journey improves recruitment and retention rates and relieves layers of administrative burden from site staff, streamlining operations.
We highlight two of the biggest barriers for patient participation and some technological solutions available for sites to boost patient recruitment and retention.
1) Lack of awareness.
Lack of patient awareness of clinical trials is a well-established hurdle to clinical trial participation. Most Americans have little or no knowledge about clinical trials, which translates to under-enrolling sites. A recent study from CSDD found that 37% of research failed to meet enrollment goals. We discuss a few technological solutions that help sites raise awareness of their study opportunities and reach high-quality patients.
- Doctor referrals. Referring physicians are a heavily underutilized resource for clinical trial recruitment. Physicians have access to treasure troves of high-quality patients who may potentially benefit from participating in a clinical trial. Unfortunately, too few physicians are aware of local clinical research opportunities. Mobile referring apps help bridge the gap between local physicians and research sites. One such app, Research Hive provides a low-burden pathway for physicians to refer patients. The app platform equips health care providers with the key study details they need to identify qualified patients, as well as an easy referral channel. Physicians on Research Hive easily send qualified patients directly to local research site staff in app.
- Clinical Trial Management Systems (CTMS). A well-maintained database is a hugely valuable recruitment resource. Patients who participate in research are likely to volunteer again. CTMS software allows site staff to conduct patient database searches based on inclusion/exclusion criteria and quickly pinpoint and contact the subjects who may qualify. In addition to allowing sites to seamlessly tap into their existing database, CTMS also tracks the success of recruitment initiatives. Solid recruitment data helps inform and shape the success of future recruitment strategies.
- Targeted online advertising. Patients are increasingly turning to the internet as a resource for health information. Research sites should take advantage of this trend by employing targeted online advertising. Google and Facebook ads target potential participants based on geographic location, demographics, and interests. See how ClinEdge helped one site meet their recruitment goals in our online advertising case study. Landing pages link to CTMS platforms so leads automatically upload into the database as they come in.
2) Costs and time associated with participating.
Patients must take time out of their busy lives in order to participate in a trial. If the burden of attending visits and communicating with the site staff is deemed to be too great, then recruitment and retention rates suffer. Sites should accommodate patients whenever possible to make participation hassle-free. Transportation coordination and stipend management technology help site staff make some of these accommodations.
- Transportation coordination. What’s more patient-centric than providing patients with an easy way to the clinic? A CenterWatch survey found that only 44% of sites currently offer patient transportation assistance. Coordinating transportation services for patients cuts down the percentage of no shows for scheduled screenings and appointments. Travel coordination is also a welcome perk that makes potential participants more inclined to joining the study in the first place. Ride-sharing services are a customized, digitized method of providing transportation. ClinEdge partners with a ride service that handles special health-related requests, such as the presence of a healthcare professional, like a nurse or CNA, or wheelchair assistance.
- Stipend management. Making a trial participant wait a long period or jump through hoops to collect their stipend harms patient retention rates. Our travel team uses a customizable online platform that's tailored to manage stipends for patients. Automated stipend management cuts down on confusion and wait times for patients and reduces administrative burden for site staff. The automation system ClinEdge uses pays study participants with a re-loadable stipend card managed by study staff on a simple online portal.
Technology is forever improving and the clinical industry must keep up or there’s risk for missed opportunities in recruiting patients. In our webinar, guest speakers Neil Schmitz from Research Hive and Elise Tawfiq from RealTime CTMS talk about the patient journey from pre-recruitment to retention using modern-day technologies.
Watch the recording by clicking on the image below: