BBK: Patients, trial participants share a voice

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/elenlabs)
(Image: Getty/elenlabs)

Related tags BBK Research Research and development

The latest Study Voices survey from BBK Worldwide indicates healthcare consumers and trial participants think alike towards technology, doctor access and quality of care.

The most recent survey released in the company’s series of surveys checked in with 2,067 individuals. Of those, 635 identified as healthcare consumers and 38% as clinical trial participants.

“Historically, the industry has approached clinical trial participants differently than healthcare consumers, based on the belief that what works to engage healthcare consumers won’t work to engage clinical trial participants,”​ Aaron Fleishman, director of market development for BBK told Outsourcing-Pharma.

“We hoped to identify insights about the healthcare consumer that we could apply to enhance the clinical trial experience for patients and study staff,”​ he added. “As with all our Study Voices surveys, we share the results with the industry in an effort to help clinical trial sponsors make informed decisions about how best to engage with patient and study site audiences.”

Busting clinical trial myths

Fleishman told us while there’s an oft-held belief in clinical research that resources available for general healthcare consumers might not be usable for engagement of trial participants, the survey results indicated that is not necessarily so.

“We were able to bust that myth with our Study Voices survey and show similarities between how healthcare consumers leverage tools to manage their health and how clinical trial participants do the same,”​ he said.

Overall, Fleishman told Outsourcing-Pharma, the survey shows healthcare consumers and trial patients are “more aligned”​ than previously believed.

“Clinical trial sponsors should feel empowered to embrace more consumer-oriented innovations in their engagement efforts,”​ he said.

Fleishman also told us the results showed no discernible difference between participants in clinical trials based on age, condition, clinical trial participation and other factors. They think in much the same way about health decisions, and how they manage their health, he said.

“All respondents, regardless of those factors, want a positive experience,”​ he told us.

Other study findings

Examples of findings in the Study Voices survey include:

  • Use of wearables appeared consistent across both groups. On a scale of one to 10 (1 being 'never' and 10 'always'), 19% of healthcare consumers ranked their use of wearables between eight and 10. Similarly, 16% of clinical trial participants ranked their use of wearables in that range.
  • Both groups preferred multiple avenues of communicating with their physicians. About 51% of clinical trial participants ranked emails as very important, compared to 44% of healthcare consumers. At the same time, 66% of trial participants ranked phone communication as very important, and 57% of healthcare consumers did. Also, 38% of trial participants ranked texting as very important, compared to 40% of healthcare consumers.

Fleishman told us future BBK surveys may look more into how clinical trial participants (and potential recruits) view the experience.

“We recognize that the clinical trial experience extends beyond a moment in time – it’s about where the experience fits into a person’s life,”​ he added.

Previous survey findings

This survey is the latest in a series of studies BBK has conducted to gauge patient and clinical trial experience. In November, 2019, one such survey indicated the design and content of a health-centric app​ can greatly impact usage.

Additionally, Fleishman told Outsourcing-Pharma, BBK put together a 'MythBusters team', with the mission to affirm or refute common clinical trial myths. Using data culled from past Study Voices of patients, physicians and sponsors, the team debunked a number of oft-held beliefs.

“Each debunked myth provides insight to empower clinical trial sponsors in their recruitment and engagement efforts,”​ he said. “Collectively, they shed light on key industry trends – often debunking long-standing myths that put well-intentioned clinical trial enrollment efforts at risk.”

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