Pew Research Center indicates that 87 percent of Americans are using the Internet regularly. With social and digital media becoming ever-more prevalent, it makes sense that within the clinical trial industry, researchers are now looking to it as a way to control some of the escalating R&D costs and make the process more patient-centric.
We all know that social media has the power to reach the masses in record speed. According to Quorum Review IRB, which recently led a webinar on embracing social media for clinical trials, there are more than one billion users on Facebook and 500 million users on Twitter. Within clinical research, social media can be an easy way to connect with the patient population. It offers the chance to get personal with like-minded people who are open and willing to share their journey regarding a specific diagnosis or indication.
We know that social media usage is up year-over-year across all ages, but how is it being put to use for clinical research? On June 11th I had the pleasure of participating in a social media forum hosted by MassBio with PatientsLikeMe, Biogen and Boston Children’s Hospital. It was an eye opening discussion that looked at the use of social media within clinical trials from the varying perspectives of advocacy groups, IRBs and pharmaceutical companies, each with different goals in mind and facing their own set of unique challenges.
Utilizing social media in clinical research is a hot topic in the clinical R&D industry and many pharmaceutical companies are rightfully beginning to take note. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 85% of U.S. adults use the internet and 72% of those users say they have looked online for health information within the past year; however, The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development reports that only approximately 10% of trials reportedly use social media to recruit patients. Furthermore, BBK Worldwide research shows that pharmaceutical sponsors who use social media in their clinical trials are gaining a strong competitive advantage in terms of patient recruitment and retention.
Considering a social media campaign for your clinical trial? While there are proven advantages to using social media as a patient recruitment tactic, additional considerations must be explored when deciding if social media fits your campaign’s needs. First, scope out your audience by evaluating the opportunity with a social media listening program. For example, how active and engaged is this study community on social media? Or, how many Facebook groups, outlets, etc. are out there for these patients to find each other? Next, evaluate the outlet – What are all my options when building a social media page? Or, what outlets can I use if I just want to advertise?
A few weeks ago, and nearly five years after its open hearing on the topic, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally released its proposed guidelines for how drug and device makers should navigate social media. Much has been written on the new guidelines including a few informative posts by Ed Silverman at the Wall Street Journal. As Silverman notes, among the 50 largest drug makers, half are still not using social media to engage consumers or patients, according to a survey by the IMS Institute for Health Informatics. He also suggests that the FDA will likely use the guidances as trial-and-error blueprints themselves as they run across questions that were not answered or situations that may not have been anticipated.
It's that time again... The Annual Meeting of the Drug Information Association is here! This year is the DIA's 50th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, the event's theme is "Celebrate the Past - Invent the Future." We anticipate numerous presentations and discussions about where the industry has come and where it's headed. We are delighted to bring a patient recruitment perspective to the conversation.
The 50th Annual Meeting of the DIA is right around the corner! Today we're excited to kick off our promotion with a guest blog from our friend, Lani Hashimoto. Lani is an expert in global patient recruitment and retention with 19 years of clinical trial experience within global pharmaceuticals. In this post, Lani tells us about the Exhibit Hall Guide volunteer program she has coordinated at this year's Annual Meeting in an effort to facilitate networking opportunities between Patient Fellows and the pharmaceutical industry. So far, we've recruited two BBKers to volunteer and hope that you and your colleagues will participate, too!
A few weeks ago, I hosted a webinar on best practices for working with advocacy groups for patient recruitment. The webinar, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships with Advocacy Groups, reviewed how when it comes to building an advocacy program for patient recruitment, it's not just about the one connection you have with one organization … it is about utilizing your network to connect, grow, and build several relationships at a local, national, and international level.