Social media tools could help researchers increase enrollment and reduce delays when recruiting participants for clinical trials, according to a white paper by Blue Chip Patient Recruitment, a division of the marketing agency Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide, Healthcare IT News reports.
For the white paper -- titled, "Patient Recruitment and the E-Patient: A Survey Analysis" -- researchers surveyed 179 adults from February through April of 2011.
The survey found that 81% of respondents said they were interested in participating in clinical trials but that only 16% had done so. Researchers said the finding suggests that there is a lack of public awareness about clinical trial recruitment efforts.
According to the researchers, engaging physicians in social media could be an effective way to recruit clinical trial participants. The survey found that 80% of respondents said they would prefer to receive clinical trial information online from a physician. Only 19% of respondents said they would be comfortable receiving such data from Facebook, while 14% said they would be comfortable receiving such information from Twitter.
Researchers also suggested that recruiters should consider potential concerns about clinical trials before launching social media-based recruitment efforts. They noted that:
- 41% of respondents expressed concern about the safety of clinical trials; and
- 36% of respondents expressed concern about the credibility of clinical studies (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 6/28).