Understand mobile devices' value in clinical trial recruitment

Using mobile devices to enroll patients into clinical trials can help organizations recruit more effectively, according to a new white paper from Blue Chip Patient Recruitment.

"mHealth is in its early adoption phase, but there are some exciting opportunities that clinical trial sponsors can leverage now," Neil Weisman, executive vice president and general manager of Blue Chip Patient Recruitment said in an announcement

"Our findings show that 92 percent of site coordinators are eager for tools to help them do their jobs more efficiently and are open to receiving mobile devices from trial sponsors, so there is great opportunity to engage with trial participants early."

The paper focuses on a survey of 50 physicians who were investigators in a trial in the past year, 50 study coordinators and 705 adult patients. All participants owned a smartphone and/or tablet.

In all three groups, mobile devices were used more often for communication than for computing.

Among patients, 75 percent used mobile devices for phone calls, texting or email, while less than 50 percent used them to access the Internet or download apps. While patients might go to WebMD to look up diabetes, they're not scanning their prescription labels to order a refill from the pharmacy. So creating a banner ad on a mobile-optimized website might be more cost-effective than leaving voicemails on individual phones, according to the paper.

Among the most active mobile users, 67 percent were receptive to receiving clinical trial information by email, with 44 percent using search engines to look up information. Blue Chip suggests trial sponsors use mobile search engine optimization and marketing (SEO/SEM) strategies to reach this active audience.    

It also suggests physicians provide Wi-Fi in their waiting rooms and present information about clinical trials to patients using mobile devices. More than 50 percent of patients surveyed use mobile devices in physician waiting rooms.

Coordinators (82 percent) were slightly more likely than physicians (75 percent) to welcome apps to help them identify trial subjects. And it stressed making sure your website is designed for mobile devices.

Recent research from Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati found that clinical trial alerts generated by electronic health records can be useful in identifying potential trial subjects, though they pose the risk of inducing alert fatigue among recipients.

Oracle recently introduced a set of cloud applications called Health Sciences Network that allow clinical research teams to screen patients across multiple health systems for participation in trials.

To learn more:
- read the white paper
- here's the announcement