It's not new to say that parents want the best for their kids – from education, opportunities, healthcare, and beyond. The same notion holds true in pediatric clinical studies.
For many pediatric studies, the relative scarcity of potential study participants means that it usually takes some complex and creative considerations to enroll and retain a sufficient number of children who meet the criteria for study participation. Devoted specialists, talented site staff, and inviting and thoughtful accommodations, all make for a positive clinical trial experience as they boost patient / family satisfaction for the study at hand.
Here are our top three building blocks for retention and compliance in pediatric clinical studies:
Remember the most important members of your study team: The children, their caregivers, and their families. BBK research shows that parents who want to begin or continue study visits, do so more with site staff they trust. On the same note, many children want to learn about the study and remain informed by a dedicated specialist and team they can confide in. There are considerable demands on the skills of the investigator and site staff to be able to communicate knowledgeably and appropriately with both parents and children.
The good news is there's help. With children becoming more tech-savvy these days, sites can easily provide educational study materials for them via a mobile app, on a tablet or some other interactive device, to rouse more interest and attention from potential, or current, patients.
Be child-like without being childish. That is to say, apps, materials, and devices should be full and fresh. Entertainment options, vibrant waiting rooms, and fun snacks are all small details that make a huge impact on pediatric study participation, especially for those lengthy or overnight visits. And, consider this: siblings often attend study visits. Sites can account for other young guests by offering more enjoyable non-study related apps and games, or even provide the patient's family with an itinerary of suggested "things to do" in the area if they aren’t familiar and have to stick around during the patient's visit.
The study isn't over 'til it's over. The follow-up phase in a clinical study is a critical time when data is gathered, patient safety is assured, and patient retention is once again tested. Throughout the study, remind your patients and their parents as to the importance of the follow-up period and have your team exercise small, but valuable, tokens of appreciation when it comes to their participation. Materials such as appointment reminder cards, birthday cards, and even refrigerator magnets all make for some effective retention materials throughout the entire study especially at the end. Lastly, but most importantly, a simple "thank you" goes a long way with young patients and their families – remind them that when it comes to their clinical study experience, you and your team want the best for them, too.
If you'd like to learn more about BBK's building blocks of pediatric patient recruitment and retention, click here.