Enrolling patients in clinical trials is a difficult business. For example, according to Forbes, as many as 60% of oncology trials fail to enroll a single patient! It can be tempting, therefore, to see your trial as successful if you simply manage to master enrollment and get your trial off the ground to start with. But enrolling a patient doesn’t guarantee they will continue with the trial to its full completion. Doing that requires a continuous, carefully planned, retention strategy to maintain patient participation and engagement.
A successful retention strategy aims to keep in touch with patients between clinic visits, keep them informed about the ongoing study, and keep them participating in study-related activities both on-site and off. These activities help instill a sense of value and worth from the participation of the patient, which is necessary to encouraging patients to continue with the study and crucial to eventual successful trial completion.
Traditional retention strategies have varied in their nature and degree of success. Onsite engagement strategies usually include activity packs, board games, books and surveys. Methods of maintaining relationships with patients in between visits, meanwhile, are still dependent primarily on telephone calls and letters, which are neither reliable, nor, effective ways of maintaining a constant dialogue.
These strategies may all improve patient retention rates, but the reality is that unless you can maintain a constant engagement with patients for the entire duration of the trail, whether onsite or off, it is impossible to guarantee that a patient who enrolls in a clinical trial will see it through to completion.
Fortunately, technology provides an answer – we live in a more connected world than ever before, dialogue is constant and relationships easier to maintain as smartphone and tablet ownership continue to increase rapidly. This is something that could and should be exploited by clinical trial recruiters looking to increase patient retention.
CitrusLabs, for example, uses innovative smartphone applications to maintain engagement with patients enrolled in clinical trials. Through our flagship app MindMate (Ranked #1 health app in 17 countries), conducting trial participation and patient contact remotely is made easy. We also use our vast and varied user base of over 300,000 users to recruit the right patients for your clinical trial and using the extensive data we collect; we can quickly find patients that meet all your eligibility requirements.
If technology like smartphones and tablets are used correctly, our early evidence suggests that it could be lead to a groundbreaking shift in the way we recruit and retain patients for clinical trials.
If you want to improve your Patient Retention, get in touch today.