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Thank you; two words with tremendous impact but too little said during clinical trials

Aad Liefveld
58 (updated: 25-11-2018 14:10)
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21-11-2018 19:26

A plea to express gratitude

Recently, I shared an editorial article from Nature on LinkedIn about the value and importance of true patient engagement in clinical trials. Involving patients from the earliest start of the clinical trial can and will lead to more effective and feasible clinical trial protocols. Patients are equivalent partners, and researchers need to incorporate patient feedback into the protocol.

The editor ends with a plea to the researchers to express their gratitude towards clinical trial participants as clinical trials fully depend on the willingness of patients, some of whom are critically ill, to participate. And these two simple words ‘thank you’, we need to say more often to participants as they have much more impact than meets the eye.

The effects of gratitude and appreciation

In a 2012 article Francis Flynn, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford, shares the findings of a study on how expressions of gratitude affect helpers and motivate other acts of generosity.

Flynn writes; “Previous research has shown that grateful feelings enable people to savor positive experiences, cope with stress, and strengthen social relationships. A disposition toward gratitude is also associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, demonstrating that counting one’s blessings can increase positive emotions and health.”

According to Flynn the study surveys reveal that feeling socially valued inspires more prosocial behavior. And it is the perceived social worth that triggers subsequent altruism and motivation. The study results speak volumes about something simple as saying thank you.

“Gratitude expressions spill over onto other beneficiaries as well, suggesting that one can spark a chain of prosocial behavior with a simple thank you. Overall, the research affirms our general intuition –– that giving thanks can have important implications for encouraging actions that promote cooperation. Clearly, a little appreciation goes a long way.”

Now what have these two words to do with clinical trials and how can they have such an impact?

Early drop-out, gratitude and appreciation

As you may know, Link2Trials’s retention services are SEHM based to improve early drop-out rates.

SEHM helps us to convey messaging that targets the common reasons for early drop-out in the most effective way and to provide the participants information and support aligned to their state of mind.

When you take a closer look at the reasons for early drop-out then you will see that most if not all are related to lack of appreciation, stress, negative emotions, lack of motivation and/or reluctance to cooperate. And here is where the words thank you can work their magic!

No matter how busy you are; there is always time for some words of appreciation and gratitude.

Saying thank you every now and then, may well be the simplest and cheapest way to promote lower drop-out rates.

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