Clinical trials are a necessary and oft-misunderstood part of healthcare. Many don’t even think of clinical trials as healthcare. Without them, loved ones would be lost and the drugs we see regularly advertised today would not be there to help so many people. We owe clinical trials and the patients that sign up for them a debt of gratitude for being brave enough to advance medical care in such bold ways.
The CROs, or contract research organizations that manage these clinical trials have the busy and complex job of managing clinical trials from launch to finish. They do wonderful things for patients and the drug companies that need willing participants. Surely they have this clinical trial management thing down, right?
With the many moving parts that whirl around a successful clinical trial to steer it toward success comes a mountain of information. There are all kinds of information CROs need to keep track of to make a clinical trial a success. When one of the variables involved in your trials are people who are as individual as the side effects they may experience, keeping track of them and their clinical trial experience is paramount to success.
Keeping patient engagement high greatly reduces patient fall off, or leaving the clinical trial before they are finished. Patients want to feel part of their trial process. How can we keep them engaged all the way through?
CROs Need More Robust Patient Communication Strategies
Better Customer Service
One thing patients are usually voicing for feedback with clinical trials is the lack of real-time communication with CROs or anyone who might be able to answer quick questions or problem solve at say, 1 AM.
Most CROs are doing all they can to respond as quickly as they can, but the trouble is there isn’t usually anyone working on the trial who is in charge of “customer service” for patients. It is almost always handled by CRO workers who are busy with other aspects of clinical trial management as well. This is a conundrum that must be solved if CROs are to reduce patient non-adherence or worse, trial dropout.
Patients who don’t feel heard or valued tend to fall off the map of the clinical trial. Patients are used to hyper-responsive doctors and their office workers, as well as the benefits of ER visits for urgent things that cannot wait. Patients expect to receive the same kind of treatment with a clinical trial because it feels like healthcare to them and they have the same expectations. If CROs have any hope of making a clinical trial be all the healthcare to patients that they hope, more needs to be done with patient services.
Ways To Involve The Treating Physician
No doubt this is a tricky one. Physicians can be skeptical of clinical trials and unsure of their patient’s future when they opt to try one. There are many reasons for treating physicians to feel this way, but they primarily feel suspicious because they are completely left out of the loop when it comes to treatment during the clinical trial.
Bringing treating physicians into the communication strategy increases the likelihood that a patient will stay engaged through completion. When the physician knows what is going on, is informed of what could happen, and has access to CROs who can provide information if something goes wrong, CROs will win in the patient engagement arena.
Providing Forums For Clinical Trial Participants
Patients in a clinical trial want to talk to other clinical trial participants. There is something about sharing in a journey that makes it all worthwhile. That is why cancer support groups for patients with a cancer diagnosis are so successful. Patients want to be able to share their experiences, doubts, and fears with other participants who are on the same journey.
In an age of social media and internet forums to share, vent, and even celebrate successes, patient engagement will matter more to the patient if they are being encouraged by other clinical trial participants as well. CROs who start focusing on community building in clinical trials will hit the jackpot when it comes to patient engagement and retention.
CROs Need Resources To Put Communication Strategies Into Action
All this sounds great, but how to pull it off? There needs to be a way for CROs to connect with patients in their clinical trials, get their physicians involved, and connect to other participants too. How much does it cost to build one of those?
eCare Vault is the first solution of its kind as the perfect match for CROs who are looking to build better patient engagement and patient retention strategies. Communication is king when it comes to successful clinical trial management. eCare Vault can deliver. If you’d like to know more about how eCare Vault can help with your patient engagement and retention issues, contact us today for a free consultation.