COVID-19 has highlighted the societal need for clinical research and participants who are receptive and ready to engage. Virtual studies only increase their willingness to participate. 

We have broken down the critical elements to increase safety, trust, and communication when virtually recruiting participants. 

  • Automate Immediate Outreach – When a participant expresses interest, engage immediately and provide information about the clinical study. With this kind of direct information, patients feel more important to the study and can carefully consider if participation in a clinical trial is an option for them. The Harvard Business Review conducted an impactful study on responsiveness and saw that if an organization’s response time is greater than 5 minutes then the chance of converting a lead decreases by 400%.Communicate with participants immediately after getting their contact information
  • Personalized Support At The Right Time – Providing timely information and personalized support to potential participants during the recruitment stage fosters informed and engaged volunteers. Often, participants have repetitive routine questions and call volumes can be high. IBM states that organizations can reduce routine calls by 30% by implementing AI-enabled virtual assistants. Virtual assistants not only provide a better participant experience but free up study teams to take their time on more complex issues and provide more support when needed.
  • Support Participant Consideration – Once the participant becomes aware of the study, they enter the consideration stage. Participants will start learning about the sponsor organization and clinical study being conducted. This stage is also an incredible opportunity to learn more about the participant. AI-powered virtual assistants are always available to say hello and have a conversation with participants. Virtual assistants can provide fun educational content, answer questions directly, and can even track engagement and sentiment to understand the participant at a deeper level. 
  • Engage In All Communication Channels & Optimize: Communicate with participants through all channels including calling, text, email, and in-app messaging. Track where participant engagement is highest then optimize those channels and personalize the experience to generate participants who are knowledgeable, motivated, and compliant.

Building data-driven personas can help you identify and provide personalized support to participants when they need it most. 

Open Supportive Communication: An open communication channel with participants increases transparency, information, and trust. In a national public opinion survey commissioned by Research America, 80% of respondents say they have heard of a clinical trial, but only 18% say they or someone in their family has ever participated in one. More than 55% of individuals say they do not participate because of a “lack of awareness and information”, followed by “too risky” (43%), “lack of information” about the process (41%), and “lack of trust” (38%). An open channel of communication can enable participants to freely ask questions and increase the feeling of information transparency, leading to more trust.

With more trust in clinical research, comes stronger relationships between participants and researchers and a more positive clinical study experience.

By Raj Sharma