Is it true doctors are unwilling to refer their patients to clinical trials for fear of losing the patient? Will an app inherently solve your patient and site engagement problems? And speaking of engagement, there’s no way to actually define it and measure its impact, right? Over the course of 2019, BBK Worldwide launched a new initiative called Study Voices. Based off of the popular TV show on the Discovery Channel, MythBusters Study Voices was designed to debunk common myths in the clinical research industry. So, I’d like to introduce you to the BBK MythBusters team – Jessica Kim, Elizabeth Gargill, Matt Kibby, and me, Aaron Fleishman!
Our approach and methodology was simple. We looked at case studies and surveyed the clinical research community – including patients, sites, sponsors and CROs – to challenge perception versus reality when it comes to hot topics in the clinical research industry. What we found was quite enlightening. So much so that we thought we’d share a quick recap.
The Myth: Engagement is too difficult to define and cannot properly be measured in a way that provides ROI.
- There are specific metrics that sponsors most closely align with effective study engagement. The majority of sponsors citing decreased withdrawal rates as the primary metric.
- Patients who had a positive experience while participating in a clinical trial cited programs like travel and reimbursement as positive reasons for why they stayed in the study.
- Patients who did not have a positive experience participating in a clinical trial cited the fact they did not have access to programs like travel and reimbursement, and close to 40% of those patients dropped out of the study.
The Myth: Doctors are unwilling to refer their patients to other specialists for access to clinical trials.
- While 53% of sponsors surveyed agreed with the statement, “Doctors are unwilling to refer their patients to other specialists for access to clinical trials,” 69% of physicians surveyed stated that they had indeed referred a patient.
- Sponsors also felt that the primary reason a physician would not refer a patient to another specialist for a clinical trial was fear of losing the patient or losing revenue. In actuality, physicians surveyed cited questions about the protocol as the primary reason why they do not refer patients.
- A majority of patients who were referred to a doctor to participate in a clinical trial ended up returning to their regular doctor for ongoing care.
The Myth: App technology inherently equals improved clinical trial participation.
- While the common perception is that the majority of patients use apps to manage their health, it turns out that there is a significant number of the patient population that does not use apps to manage their health at all.
- For those who use apps, they are power users, citing that they use apps more than once a day.
- There is a correlation between what app users want and what we’re asking patients to use during a clinical trial.
- Ability to manage appointments
- Follow a treatment plan
- Send information / data to the doctor (eDiary, medication adherence, etc.)
- While there is a correlation in features, it’s the way the content is displayed that keeps users coming back to the app.
Challenging perception versus reality in our industry will hopefully foster a more collaborative and innovative environment with regard to enhancing the patient and site experience in clinical trials. The BBK MythBusters will be back in 2020 with season 2! Subscribe to our blog to stay in touch with the latest myth and how you can help us bust it!