Survey reveals decentralized clinical trial elements that drive participation in studies

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / ipopba
© Getty Images / ipopba

Related tags: DCT, decentralized clinical trial, patient engagement, Telemedicine

In-home nurse visits, using familiar mobile devices to upload health data, and telemedicine calls with a doctor are the elements of decentralized clinical trials with the biggest positive impact on participation in future studies, according to a survey.

Life Science Strategy Group generated the findings in a survey of 800 people​. The survey population was split fairly evenly between people in North America and Europe, and between individuals who had and had not participated in clinical trials in the past two years.

LSSG asked respondents with recent experience of participating in a clinical trial about their attitudes to DCT elements used in their studies. The questions shed light on how the trial technologies and processes affect patient satisfaction and the likelihood that people will participate in future studies.

Among the 360 respondents with clinical trial experience, nurse visits topped the list of decentralized elements impacting future trial participation with 93% of people reporting a positive experience. The use of a smartphone or tablet to record health information for uploading to the internet and telemedicine visits with doctors were next on the list, with, respectively, 83% and 82% positive responses.

Respondents also generally welcomed logging onto online portals to participate in trials and having treatments shipped to their homes. In both cases, 81% of respondents reported a positive viewpoint on the DCT elements.

Almost two-thirds of prior trial participants, and a similar proportion of the general population, want to see studies have more in-home elements. Nine percent of respondents who had participated in a clinical trial expressed a preference for fewer in-home elements. 

The findings reflect a desire for more convenient clinical trials that are less burdensome for participants. LSSG found that in-home visits by nurses, receiving treatment at home, and use of remote technology drive greater satisfaction than activities involving travel.

Traveling consistently ranked lowest for ease of use, beneficial impact on experience, positive influence on continuation of participation, and future willingness to participate. Even so, LSSG found some in-person interaction with a physician is an important activity for trial participation and satisfaction.

Responses diverged depending on how much participants needed to travel for their trials, with patients who traveled the most saying DCT elements had a bigger impact on their experience.

For example, 100% of the participants who had to travel a few times per week or more said electronic diaries had a very positive impact on their trial experience, compared to 35% of their counterparts who traveled every few months or less. LSSG said the result “is likely due to [the] convenience decentralization offers​.”

The LSSG findings are in line with the results of other surveys. For example, surveys by the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation and James Lind Care respectively found that 81% and 57% of people prefer hybrid clinical trials.

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