What information helps patients decide to take part in a clinical trial?
Guest Article for ARCS Australia.
Few patients set out with the intention of participating in a clinical trial.
Yet companies like HealthShare successfully enrol patients in clinical trials every day. Here, HealthShare shares their insights into why patients decide to take part in clinical trials and how trial coordinators can leverage this knowledge to encourage patient enrolment.
Patients want to solve their health issues. Whether they’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition or are just experiencing niggling symptoms, good health is a strong motivator.
Successful patient recruitment into clinical trials is akin to good marketing; and all the same principles of motivational psychology apply.
Good patient enrolment campaigns focus first on the condition, and what the patient can hope to gain by participating in the trial – the critical ‘what’s in it for them’. Helping to find a cure for a debilitating medical condition, improving existing treatment pathways and contributing to medical advancements are tremendous social drivers– but it is patients’ intrinsic motivation to improve their life situation, remove discomfort or minimise their own health-related risks that ultimately drives enrolment into clinical trials.
It is patients’ intrinsic motivation to improve their life situation that ultimately drives enrolment into clinical trials
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Of course, there are inhibitors to trial participation that go beyond patient positioning. Concerns with treatment efficacy, discomfort with procedural aspects of the trial and logistical difficulties in attending site visits can all come up. In these situations, successful trial enrolment comes down to providing patients with the right information, at the right time, in the right format.
By proactively providing all the information patients need to understand the trial process, risks and requirements upfront, trial coordinators can put patients at ease and help them feel comfortable to participate.
Clinical trials, by their very nature, are experimental. Results are not guaranteed; and patient participation can prove difficult. If trial coordinators can align their advertising to patient mindset, proactively manage patient expectations and provide all the appropriate information upfront, patients will be much more likely to participate.