Rachael Pollinger - Nov 8, 2018

Educating Patients about the Clinical Trial Experience


The patient journey to finding a clinical trial often starts with an internet search and typically ends in one of three places:

  1. A pharmaceutical website for specific clinical trial
  2. Long lists of clinical trials that includes very clinical and technical language and descriptions of trials that the average person cannot understand
  3. An institutional website that is not optimally designed to engage patients with an easy, intuitive and engaging experience

How to Help Patients Understand Medical Trial Processes

Most patients aren’t familiar with the technical terminology and descriptions typically supplied by online resources. Those same online sources fall short of providing the full story of what a clinical trial means to patients.

Often “educational content” consists of an outline of the four (4) phases of clinical trials. But that’s the story about making a drug, not a description of what patients should expect when they engage with a clinical trial.

The kinds of questions buzzing in a patient’s head are more personal, relating to the experience they will have with the organization and the people within it.

Most patients have more elementary questions like, “What are the stages of the clinical trial process that they, as a patient, will go through?”

They want to understand enrollment, screening, number and frequency of study visits, reimbursement, etc. Initial questions likely to surface are:

“Will I be a guinea pig?”

“What if I get the placebo?”

“Will my care be compromised because I participate in a trial?”

“What type of time commitment will this be?”

“How will I be compensated for my time and travel?”

“What questions should I ask a research center?”

Helpful Solutions to Consider

There needs to be a resource and repository that provides the answers to these questions without drowning people in technical lingo.

A solution that helps tell the story from the patient and clinician perspective through video interviews, blog posts from experienced providers, and helpful graphics that describe what the patient can expect if they participate in a clinical trial.

Learn more about ways to improving your patient engagement by downloading the FREE e-book: Re-thinking Patient Clinical Trial Engagement: A Guide for Research Centers

Written by Rachael Pollinger

Rachael Pollinger is the marketing lead at TrialScout. When she is not blogging, Rachael oversees the content creation, social media and events for our company. After graduating from Niagara University, she began her career in the marketing department at a local healthcare organization where she learned graphic design, social media marketing, community relations and print advertising. In her free time, she enjoys cycling through the city of Buffalo and exploring new coffee shops.

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