• Joanna Thomson

Patient engagement updates every CRO should take note of

It is a rather confusing time for researchers and patients alike right now, with many clinical trials struggling to restart or get back up and running again after months of delay. A huge factor in this struggle is that the old methodologies or standard models for patient recruitment, engagement and retention just don’t seem to work anymore. With a rise in public awareness of clinical research, brought on by the measures to combat the pandemic (e.g. test and trace apps), the research landscape - or at least how the public views clinical trials - has changed; and so metrics must evolve accordingly.


Today, we take a look at some of the most notable developments in patient engagement strategy that have shown real promise over the last few months. Check out our brief overview below for the latest insight.


Lancet’s self-risk assessment


Based on evidence given by the British Society for Rheumatology and other esteemed medical institutions, the company has launched a program that they describe as a ‘multi-layered strategy’ to communicate to patients, asking them to self-assess their own COVID-19 risk. The initiative involves a patient-friendly self-risk assessment algorithm, presented in an animated, home-recorded video, that looks to direct patients to an e-form on the company’s website. Here, the patients are made aware of the importance of glucocorticoids as an infection risk, and are recommended to be particularly scrupulous in their implementation of physical distancing. These considerations exemplify how guided self-management can lead to constructive patient education; placing Lancet as a key producer of valuable patient engagement protocol.


What patients want is to feel included, and Lancet’s initiative seems to hit the nail on the head here. According to NHS England, it’s thought that around 40% of patients actively desire to be involved in their own treatment. Over the past couple of years, researchers, as a result, have been urged to reserve a seat at the table for patients to make sure that they don’t feel like just “meat in the room”. Lancet’s plan offers patients a direct point of contact with research operators, despite the many obstacles of the COVID crisis, and has reminded the industry that digital methodologies are not completely out of the question for older age groups as, within the first 48 hrs of publishing, there were 1307 unique views of the video released.


BBK’s ‘study-life balance’ construct


In a recent interview, director of research and digital strategy for BBK, Jessica Kim, discussed the importance of keeping-in-mind the real-life factors surrounding patient recruitment and retention. One of the key points of the conversation was on making CROs aware of the ‘tangible’ and ‘intangible’ factors affecting potential patients. These factors could include travel expenses, childcare costs, interpreter fees, lost wages, and medication delivery costs among other things. Ultimately, BBK is determined to remind companies that patient engagement is not all about implementing complex, analytical-based strategy; and reinforces that success is found in retaining the fundamental human element of any study.


The company also provides a number of practical suggestions for dealing with these factors. Among the list of suggestions are the implementation of a medication delivery service and remote study visits in order to reduce unnecessary travel expenses. If research sites can make the effort to bring the study into the patients home, especially when the patient may have restricted mobility, the researcher shows that they are willing to go the extra mile for their clients. In the end, it’s all about showing the patient that you care and BBK’s advice will help CROs do exactly that.



Here at Citruslabs, we've created the ideal patient recruitment dashboard to help any researcher improve their current metrics. With over 3 million patients on record, we ensure research sites are connected to a thoroughly educated and engaged pool of participants; so, it is no wonder why we have such high patient confidence! Now, we would say that other models are available - but this would be a lie. In fact, unlike that offered by other patient recruitment companies, our easy-to-use dashboard is the first-of-its-kind for the market; giving researchers a unique insight into their patients’ wants and needs via industry-leading technology. The future of clinical recruitment starts here.

  • Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us here, and check out our archives for all our top tips and tricks on running successful clinical trials in today's constantly changing industry.

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