The average dropout rate across all clinical trials is an astonishing 30%. We believe that many reasons patients choose to leave a study early can be prevented through collaborating with patients on protocol design; however, providing special attention to the patient experience and fully utilizing today's technology throughout the study can also make a very significant impact.
SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS AND CALLS DIGITALLY
Once a patient has been pre-qualified, it is imperative to move as quickly as possible to schedule the next steps for enrollment, but this sense of urgency should be extended throughout the trial to maximize retention.
Here are some of the ways we ensure there is no confusion between the patient or the trial site:
- Book within one or two days after the patient has passed the pre-screening survey. Waiting longer can cause the patient to lose interest or find another treatment option.
- Send a digital calendar invite instead of or in addition to a mailed reminder. “If it doesn’t exist in my calendar, it doesn’t exist.” While important to be vigilant about removing any PHI (as some apps are not HIPAA-compliant) a digital reminder can reduce the time burden traditionally required by study coordinators.
At Clara Health, we believe in meeting the patient where they are. In order to ensure that value, we’ve built an automatic scheduling tool that can guide a patient through an easy online flow to schedule a call or clinic visit. Calendar invites are automatically sent out to the patient and clinic, booking the time for the scheduled appointment. Patients are texted, emailed, or called to be reminded of the upcoming visit, depending on their preferred communication channel. What if the patient isn’t tech savvy? We take extra care to ensure they are fully supported through methods best suited to their individual needs.
PROVIDE GOOD RESOURCES
Being able to have a “home base” of resources, answers, and contact information can help patients troubleshoot their own concerns faster and increase their likelihood to continue through the entire trial. This can take place in a multitude of forms, such as a physical brochure, or digital trial wiki.
SET UP TRIAL-SPECIFIC PHONE LINES & VOICEMAILS
We recommend directing patients to a line that is specific to that particular trial and your site.
This allows you to instantly know what clinical trial the patient is inquiring about when staff members answer the phone, and you can even record a voicemail prompt specific to the particular trial the patient is calling about.
For a good experience, make sure you’re checking the voicemail and responding to all new inquiries at least once per day.
ADD MOMENTS OF CARE
In consumer technology, there is an idea referred to as “moments of delight.” Simply, this is a moment of unexpected surprise that brings a smile to the user’s face. Think about Google’s homepage and how it changes to celebrate holidays or events.
At Clara we aim to deliver “moments of care.” By showing genuine care for your applicants, enrollees, and their caregivers, you can foster a real relationship with them, increasing engagement and retention through their application process and eventual trial participation.
Through looking for various ways in which we can anticipate and support our community’s needs, we’ve been able to build an authentic connection with our members. We make the inevitable moments of difficulty much easier to navigate by caring for our users and collaborating to problem solve.
Some of the ways we have shown care at Clara include:
- 24/7 free support to patients seeking, enrolling, or participating in any clinical trial found through our site
- Hand-written cards to study participants experiencing hardship
- Hospital care packages
- Working with sites to amend protocol when it became clear the diet plan was damaging for a patient
To read about how tracking metric improves enrollment,Read Ahead.