Use websites and chatbots to conduct outreach activities for clinical trials

The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled clinical research into the mainstream spotlight and placed a magnifying glass on its many unique barriers to engagement and recruitment.

While transparency in clinical trials is the new buzzword, low awareness and declining enrollment rates, increased site and patient load, and the persistent lack of diversity in the participant pool mean that the he industry still has many challenges to overcome.

So how can technology help overcome the new challenges in recruitment and engagement for clinical trials?

KMWorld hosted a webinar with Karaline Venezia, Capacity and Elizabeth D’amato, Citeline Connect, who discussed recent industry innovations such as trial websites and chatbot AI that tackle barriers to patient engagement and retention.

According to a study by Capacity and Citeline Connect, 69% of participants said improving their quality of life was the number one factor in joining a study. The remaining 31% ranked the desire to help future patients as the main reason for their participation.

Respondents said they used general internet search to get information about a clinical trial of interest to them, Venezia and D’amato said.

However, potential participants using a general internet search land on a variety of websites, many of which are not intended for one participant or have educational materials with clear next steps available.

They recommended that the sponsors create a dedicated website to make the trials accessible. They should adapt common digital experiences to create a single source of testing information, write easy-to-read content, designed with a streamlined design, and have additional training for reinforcement.

Venezia and D’amato suggested involving participants through a conversational approach. It involves creating a knowledge base for conversational and patient-specific support. This approach includes:

  • Interactive app offering immediate 24/7 support on all websites
  • Adoption and familiarity in several sectors
  • Navigate and match individuals to the right trial or trial information
  • Answer frequently asked questions about diseases, processes, trials and more

D’amato noted that a biotechnology leading the charge against COVID-19 must educate, engage and enroll individuals in its portfolio of trials. Support was needed for a large-volume study recruiting multiple patient cohorts.

They deployed a patient study website that included a ChatBot app for answering FAQs as well as sorting and matching individuals to the right study information.

The company was able to centralize and monitor registration activities in real time to optimize and correct courses as needed.

An archived on-demand replay of this webinar is available here.

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About Stuart M. McFarland

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