While the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily disrupted the recruitment, retention, and progress of many clinical trials across the globe, providers, pharma companies and research organizations continue to press on however they can with the exploration of potentially lifesaving medications and clinical interventions. Whether or not your clinical-trial efforts have been impacted by the pandemic, the last thing you want is to experience more protracted delays and complications because your organization wasn’t adhering to proper best practices and protocols for success. To be most effective, clinical trials need to be fully representative of the targeted population, offer full assurance of confidentiality and privacy, be easy to engage with throughout the process and offer accessibility, safety and a sense of partnership to the patients who participate in them.
There are a great many factors to consider when initiating this process, from pre-trial recruitment practices to initial engagement and onboarding practices to consistency of communication and transparency and more. By better understanding what patients need and look for in a clinical-trial experience, and the best and most efficient ways to offer it, you can avoid issues with regulatory compliance, patient accessibility, high drop-out rates and other factors that so commonly inhibit progress of these studies.
Patients Are A Virtue
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when initiating clinical trial recruitment and retention efforts is the plight of the patient you’re targeting. Do they have cognitive or mobility issues that will make certain aspects of engagement hard for them? Are there frequently asked questions patients within the disease state have about medication potential? When crafting marketing, enrollment, and retention messaging, always consider things from their point of view.
Fully Understand Your Advertising Venues
It’s important that you know the specific advertising and messaging policies of each platform that you’re using to recruit patients. Platforms like Google and Facebook are commonly used to recruit trial participants, but they also have very rigid parameters when it comes to this type of engagement. Recruiters often experience delays in ad approval because their initial messaging doesn’t conform to platform guidelines. You can head off these delays by fully researching ad policies and starting from there. As an extension of this best practice, you should also have a clearly defined plan in place to study trial results and accurately report outcomes.
Consider the Clinical Trial Cornerstones
Critical elements to monitor in all trials include adherence to informed consent procedures, inclusion and exclusion requirements, adequate and timely safety monitoring, adherence to protocol mandated investigations and follow-up, and the review of regulatory documents. There is ample data to suggest that trial enrollees want transparency, partnership, and consistent engagement. One recent study clearly illustrates that patients want to be alerted to overall trial results after their study and the widespread efficacy of their medications. Remember these cornerstone principals when trying to retain trial participants:
Provide a framework for frequent and consistent communication and offer ample opportunity to provide feedback (online forms, in-person questionnaires, etc.).
Make sure your patients understand informed consent materials and protocol throughout the process. Research indicates that over a third of trial participants drop out because they don’t fully understand these elements of the process.
Make it as easy and streamlined as possible for patients to maintain trial adherence. Patients may forget to take their medications, have trouble accessing trial coordinators with important questions or use other substances that are forbidden during the trial. Digitizing the adherence check-in process to ensure continued compliance is a great place to start with improving adherence.
Make It Easy, Make It Safe, Make It Secure
GoMo Health is committed to helping healthcare providers and researchers in all areas of specialization facilitate and streamline clinical trial recruitment and retention. Most recently, we’ve collaborated with National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR), and AIM-HI to help cancer patients identify clinical studies, accelerate trial qualification and recruitment processes, and synchronize with the GoMo telehealth system for improved retention and engagement.
Accelerating a Cancer Cure with Clinical Trials
Find an active clinical trial or learn more about the GoMo Health partnership with NFCR and AIM-HI.