Participation in a clinical trial is for many a challenging prospect. If you were to ask a person in the street – how would you like to take part in a clinical trial – the average response would be ‘No thanks’. Even for the 7% that might be interested, keeping these individuals in the study, while they have concerns regarding the safety or efficacy of a therapy can be difficult.
Its all about Communication
The traditional method of communication during a clinical trial is between the Investigator (Site) and the Patient. Sponsors, quite rightly have not been involved – that would break patient / doctor confidentiality. However, does that mean that sponsor companies have ‘no’ vested interest in ensuring patients are supported by Sites?
Drop-outs or Lost to Follow-up patients are a larger problem for Sponsors, in many ways, than the failure to attract patients in the first place. Time and money has been spent on bringing these patients into studies. Often the data captured for these patients becomes useless (see for example Xarelto).
It is not uncommon for large clinical trials to be supported by a website. Typically, these websites will provide information on the study, the associated condition and who to contact for further information. Primarily these are aimed at the Sites, with limited information for Patients. Sadly these sites are non interactive. They are a one trip pony. They might be read once, but they provided limited or no ongoing information or support.
People today expect websites to ‘do things’. If a website does nothing, then people do not return. It does not provide help or information to them. The same applies to a Study website.
Most study websites today are next to useless when it comes to engaging with a patient. They are targeted towards physicians and sites AND they don’t adapt to the patient or the involvement the patient has.
Intelligent Study Sites
Imagine if the study website was able to adapt to the user accessing it? Imagine – as a patient – when I went to the site, if I could see my visit schedule, the information on my involvement, and even (optionally) my relative compliance in comparison to other participants? Would that make me feel ‘part’ of clinical research? Would I not be more inclined to return to read more, OR at least to be more engaged in the study itself? We think so.