Patients in today’s world often take to digital means after a diagnosis. Whether medical information sites, blogs, social media groups, or specialized message boards, the internet provides patients with a connection to their greater community. With this connection and information, patients have more power and confidence in their health decisions. This is where patient advocates can be a tremendous asset to your clinical trial.

A patient advocate is a former or current participant of your clinical trial who uses their voice as outreach and awareness to connect with other potential patients. Positive opinions resonate, especially online. When a patient is satisfied with their experience, they tend to want to share that with the world. Online advocacy is the new word-of-mouth marketing. It all comes down to providing a superior patient experience. With top notch “customer service” creating patient advocates, the domino benefits will spread to other areas of your practice as well.

Let’s take a closer look at having patient advocates in your trial’s corner:

Relationships

Don’t forget the human side of medicine. Be straightforward, open, and unbiased with the information that you provide to patients. They need to feel comfortable with you before they will trust that you have their best interests at heart. Your credibility will go far in creating new advocates.

Be sure to keep patients in the loop about topics that relate to them. This can be through a newsletter or a blog (or both!). Your patient deserve to have easy access to relevant information. Don’t be too frequent with communications and don’t use terminology that could confuse readers and cause them to lose interest. Make the information you are putting out as welcoming as possible. Additionally, remembering details about a patient’s personal life (children, pets, hobbies) is a really nice touch to help uphold that human connection.

Content

Focus on putting out high-quality and relevant content that leads to impactful communication. The onus is on your outreach strategy to connect, inform, and motivate your audience. Photos, videos, blog posts, and infographics are all great examples of social content that can be used to engage your followers. If they find the content interesting, they are more likely to share it and expand your online reach.

Post on a consistent schedule across several platforms (you can use a 3rd party content manager to plan everything out ahead of time). Outsource the job of content creation if that makes it easier. The important thing is to remain visible with your audience even when they are not with you. You want to establish trust with current patients and credibility with future one. Create content that people will want to share with their networks. High-quality, easily shareable content will help to build loyalty and create the patient advocates that you need.

Participation

Satisfied patients are incredibly valuable. Not only do they speak volumes to the quality of your clinical trial but they are paramount to the growth and continued success of the study. Be proactive with your patient base and ask if they would be willing to share their positive experiences. This can take the form of public reviews, short testimonials, or longer interviews. You definitely want this patient-focused content on your website. Show that your patients care about you as much as you care about them. If possible, also try to feature a different patient in your social media postings each week. There is a bounty of great content just waiting to be made! Don’t be shy about asking happy patients to step forward.

In the midst of seeking out patient advocates, remember that some trial participants are simply not going to be satisfied. That’s just the way it goes and that’s okay. At the end of the day, you need to treat every single patient with the same level of service, respect, and courtesy. If they hate you, learn from it. If they love you, nurture that relationship and open the opportunity for some of the most powerful outreach your trial can get.

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