The cost of developing a single drug can reach billions of dollars – most of which goes to clinical trials. A lot of time and money go into clinical research but data can help things run smoothly.  Utilizing data in your patient recruitment strategy is paramount to keeping your clinical trial on schedule and on budget. By monitoring and analyzing data in every facet of research, clinical trials can create a better patient experience and improve both enrollment and retention. This, of course, is always favorable when it comes to time and cost.

Data can be used to inform decisions at every touchpoint of a clinical trial from streamlining the patient recruitment process to finding the most effective methods of keeping patients engaged (and enrolled). A clinical trial can lose upward of 30% of its patients in the third phase. A great deal of this is the result of patients feeling that the trial has become a burden or inconvenience. For example, a patient may fill out forms online beforehand and then asked to fill out similar forms again once they have arrived in person. Or they may be repeatedly asked to come in for a visit on a day that transportation is not accessible to them.

By using data to make the most of each patient’s time and attention, the overall experience is made better for everyone. This leads to more satisfied patients, higher rates of retention, and fewer delays in the trial. When possible, look over trial design data from other studies and glean as much as possible. By learning from relevant data across multiple studies, researchers can draw important conclusions and implement nuanced guidelines in an effort to maximize the chances of patient retention.

As we’ve covered before, data collected about a trial’s ideal audience improve marketing efforts and helps to increase overall patient recruitment. After selecting the individuals who meet the trial’s inclusion and exclusion criteria, the marketing team can then create awareness for those potential patients through search, print, and social media.

In a similar fashion, data can lend itself to higher patient retention. Analyzing the communication strategies of past clinical trials will shed some insight into the best methods of patient engagement – whether it be a patient portal, email, text, or phone call. How did the patient prefer to be contacted? Was this preference indeed the method with the highest response rate? What identifiable communication patterns can you find among patients who left a study? At what point are patients withdrawing and how can they be reached beforehand to improve retention? Communicate with patients where they are most comfortable to help reduce trial exits.

A common motto that used to be tossed around marketing circles was “content is king.” These days, data reigns supreme. Clinical trial leaders have the opportunity to take advantage of the data available from various resources and help make studies more successful than they ever have been before.

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