Recently the National Cancer Institute in the US has published a concise and easy to read step-by-step guide for cancer patients who are looking for clinical trials. Each of the ten steps in the guide explains in simple terms what to do and if applicable where to find more detailed information.
The guide not only provides links to multiple sources containing information about ongoing and upcoming clinical trials, but it also provides guidelines on how to find potential cancer treatment trials. On top of all that it even has a list of questions a patient should ask the trial coordinator. In short; it is a very patient centric response to the information needs of anyone interested in clinical trial participation.
The ten steps may be focused on cancer patients but if you substitute the cancer specific parts with information about other treatments, it is a very useful tool for any patient actively looking for potential clinical trials.
However, as a tool to find the right patients for your trial it has very limited effect. Provided that the guide has a prominent and easy to find place on your website, it will only reach patients that are actively looking for trial specific information. Chances are that they have already voiced their interest to one or more members of their health care team. And unless no one is paying attention; you already know of them.
If you want to find the right patients on time, follow these five steps.
A large portion of the investigators find patient recruitment very to extremely burdensome. It is obvious that you have to ask yourself if they really have the time, the expertise, the experience and the capabilities to make patient recruitment a success. If the response to any of these questions is negative then your trial might be at risk. The costs and risks of trial delays are well known and alternative ways to bring these competencies to your project should be considered.
Some patient groups may be best reached through more traditional channels but in this day and age most people use social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, QQChat and Twitter. With close to 1,500 million users Facebook is the leading social network and should be included in your patient recruitment campaign. If you select the right pages to promote your message on, your recruitment campaign is bound to get a boost.
Patient centricity and the engagement and empowerment of patients in the recruitment phase of a clinical trial will increase the willingness of patients to participate in clinical trials. We need the patient for our trial. Make it easy for the patient to apply for your trial.
Preparing a recruitment campaign and actually finding the right patients will take time and effort. If you don’t want to jeopardize the timelines and budget of your trial you need to start preparing for your patient recruitment campaign as soon as possible.
The stakes in clinical trials are simply too high to just wait for someone to stumble upon the message you have published on a website or in a magazine. Choose communication channels that offer you the opportunity to repeatedly push your message to your audience and start-up a two-way communication. Patients that are actively involved in your communication are more inclined to follow-through on their intent to participate.
Follow this link to learn more about the NCI 10-step guide: http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/clinical-trials/search/trial-guide?cid=tw_NCIMain_nci_Clinical+Trials_sf39211782