The clinical research industry is unique among other industries for many reasons. Yet in the bigger picture, the way we interact with information has evolved, more or less, in step with the rest of the world. I can see parallels between changes in my own life and how clinical trials, and patient recruitment and engagement, have changed over the years.
When I was a little girl, I remember waking up on a Sunday morning and eating my breakfast with my parents while they read the Sunday New York Times. Passing around the different sections, laughing together at the funny pages, and doing the famous New York Times crossword puzzle together, it became a treasured family tradition. Now, as an adult, information and news are everywhere I turn. As a young professional I’m always on the go, so having information at my fingertips is necessary to help me stay informed. While I read my e-mail from the Skimm every weekday morning for my quick update on the goings on around the world, my parents are still getting their newspapers delivered to their home. Our Sunday breakfast traditions are still intact when I go to visit, though the way in which we get our information is different.
I keep this in mind when I think about how the clinical trial industry is evolving, and it demonstrates how we as an industry should approach patient recruitment, engagement and retention in any capacity – that is, with a deep understanding of our audiences. Your intended audience – whether it consists of patients, site staff, or physicians – will determine the strategic and tactical direction of your recruitment, engagement, and retention programs.
To remain successful in clinical research, we must stay abreast with the newest trends in communications and media, and understand how the latest technological innovations fit into our recruitment and engagement ecosystem. However, when we evaluate new technologies to implement, and consider new ways to reach different audiences, it’s critical to understand that innovation does not negate the need for traditional tactics. A recent analysis on mobile internet trends by Mary Meeker from KPCB showed that while the growth of mobile usage has exponentially increased between 2008 and 2015, it did not replace the use of desktop devices, but rather increased the reach to wider audiences based on user preferences.
When we build clinical research recruitment and engagement strategies at BBK, we understand that no one approach will successfully engage with the many demographics that comprise our target audiences. As app usage soars, the need for mHealth products like Protocol Pal™ and My Clinical Study Buddy® are increasing. But these capabilities do not completely replace the need for traditional materials like study brochures, or a hardcopy of a protocol. Some people are more disposed to using an app on their phone or tablet, while others are more likely feel informed with a paper brochure in hand. By blending traditional and innovative outreach tactics, and by diversifying the mediums you use to communicate with your audience, you increase the chance that your information and messaging will resonate with the greatest number of people.
If you'd like to learn more about innovative outreach tactics, download our mHealth eBook here.