5 ways Social Media can Help with Abysmal Clinical Trial Recruitment

In the past year, buzz has been generated around clinical trials and social media. Mainly around particular clinical trials being conducted via various social media platforms such as the ALS clinical trial that PatientsLikeMe concluded a few months ago [1] (we actually blogged about this as well), or the recent National Coalition for Women with Heart Diseases Trial for SCAD. [2]

Google+ has been the recipient of attention in the hopes that it can provide a better platform for pharmaceutical engagement. [3]

The Mayo Clinic now has a Center for Social Media which is actually pretty cool. [4]

Most of the buzz is about gathering data via social media, or simple engagement which is fantastic but social media and clinical trial advertising and recruitment is also a big deal a potentially important way to boost clinical trial recruitment which is indeed abysmal.

Here are some revealing facts that social media can help combat:

  • According to CenterWatch, 94% of people recognize the importance of participating in clinical research in order to assist in the advancement of medical science. Yet 75% of the general public state they have little to no knowledge about the clinical research enterprise and the participation process.
  • More than half of respondents to a 2005 CISCRP survey on clinical trial registry users would have greater trust in clinical research information if the results were made available on a public website registry. [5]
  • According to an article in Fierce Biotech, “Nearly 85% of patients in a recent survey stated they were unaware that clinical trials were a possible treatment option, and 31% of physicians surveyed did not refer patients to trials due to, among other things, lack of information.”[6]
  • Half of the trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute fail to reach the minimum needed for a meaningful result[6]

We’ve written a few blogs about social media and clinical trial recruitment here and here and here, and an article featured in the ACRP’s Monitor about using social media to help boost clinical trial recruitment. Social Media is revolutionizing the way we communicate.

Here are 5 things we as clinical trial marketers and advertisers can do now to help revolutionize and boost clinical trials accrual:

    1. Advertise and explain clinical trials in plain language via social media
    2. Recruit for your clinical trials on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other platforms
    3. Publish results of your trials and market via social media
    4. Let patients comment on and share their experience via a moderated system.
    5. Get your IRB on board with all this!

      Let’s work together to have clinical research not be a decade behind in this technology.

      Of course if you are looking for online, clinical trial recruitment services, TrialX.com is the way to go!  😀

      About the Author

      2 thoughts on “5 ways Social Media can Help with Abysmal Clinical Trial Recruitment

      1. 2 comments:

        1. “Clinical trial marketers and advertisers” rarely, if ever, have access to results of trials

        2. I strongly disagree with having patients share experiences about specific trials on any platform controlled by a company engaged in clinical research. It can easily sway the statistical results if subjects share things about their experience. It happened during the rush to develop AIDS/HIV drugs and blinds were broken when subjects began to share notes.

        • Hi Dan,

          2 replies:

          1. The marketers and advertisers would have to be provided the results and paid by the Pharma company, university, government or doctor conducting the trial to further engage the public.

          2. This is why I said “via a moderated system” in my post. The moderator would have to be savvy enough to rule out blind breaking/threatening comments yet supportive and sensitive enough to allow for an engaging and fruitful conversation to emerge. It is a delicate situation, but a possible and important way in which the world of clinical trials can evolve.

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