Previously published as guest blog on Antidote.me October 8th 2018
Of course, keeping patients engaged and on board with your trial is fundamental to its success. But the same goes for site staff, too. In fact, achieving a strong team dynamic with both of these stakeholders can determine the ultimate success of your study.
Research has shown that when people work together, they are more invested in the task, become more engrossed, and perform better. When it comes to keeping patients and staff interested and compliant in the running of a clinical trial, a sense of collaboration is crucial. So how do you foster this community feeling? Paddy Wall, Strategic Partnership Manager at Longboat Clinical, shared his three key ingredients that motivate both patients and staff to stay engaged in your clinical trial:
Keep Me Informed
Among all strong teams, good lines of communication are essential. The largely paper and email-based world of trials, with frequent changes to protocols and complex information, is often a significant barrier to keeping staff up to date and clear on what they need to do. This can soon lead to frustration for site staff, as well as patients who are likely to feel disengaged and drop out of your study.
For site staff, it helps to be fully versed on the latest protocols in order to both explain and conduct the study well. For patients, it's about knowing what to expect when they attend their clinic visits, and feeling that they can have trust and confidence in the trial process.
One way to keep all parties informed is to use a single platform for the study team, sites, and patients. With a single platform, you can issue an update to all those involved in your study – whether that be an essential protocol change or routine progress-sharing exercise.
Help Me to Belong
Patients are often motivated to join a trial because they feel they are "giving something back.” Others may also be interested in the particular science of the study and be keen to hear about its progress. Feeling like a vital part of research that will make a difference in people's lives is just as important for motivating site staff.
If patients and site staff feel like they're part of a team effort, they are more likely to stay engaged throughout your trial. Each and every touchpoint with both patients and site staff is an opportunity to create a sense of "team.” It may sound obvious, but in practice, this is harder to accomplish than it seems.
It can be particularly challenging to foster a sense of collaboration across multiple study centers, which may even be in different time zones. If you can't bring people together in person, a virtual solution can help.
Today's mobile technology is making it easier than ever to share the latest progress on clinical research with your team and patients – whether that's patients and site staff checking in ahead of a clinic visit, or the study team sharing the latest news on trial milestones. Everyone involved in the trial can receive updates wherever they are, on a device they are familiar with and likely to have by their side; but, most importantly, rather than receive yet another email, they can interact with each other, forging that genuine sense of team.
Give Me a Great Experience
A great experience on a trial can leave patients with a positive lasting impression of clinical research. They are much more likely to sign up for a future trial, and highly likely to influence other patients' perceptions – both those already on a trial, and those considering whether or not to join.
Similarly, a positive work environment can help your staff can influence everything, from how well staff complete essential study tasks to how they speak about your trial to patients.
A web-based, mobile-friendly clinical trial platform can support everything from consent to clinic visits, making daily tasks easier. Site staff can run through clinic appointments using interactive tools that provide an easy-to-follow checklist, resulting in a slick, engaging, and reassuring experience for patients.
Content can be switched from dry, detail-heavy documents to informative videos or interactive surveys. By giving patients and sites their own bespoke dashboard, they can recall the information they need, whenever they need it, using an interface that is familiar to them.
Think About What Engages You
The future of trials does not lie in deciphering dense 100-page paper protocols and maintaining separate silos of information for various stakeholders. Rather, it's about harnessing technology to bring everything, and everyone, to function together in one streamlined operation that interacts beautifully. One great trial experience will be driven by one great trial team.