Increased smartphone usage and internet access have given birth to various social communication platforms. These platforms enable clinical study stakeholders— a clinical research organization like Veristat and other players— to easily share information with patients. For this reason, social media plays a critical role in patient engagement in clinical trials. This post walks you through social media’s vital role in research dissemination, patient engagement, and education.
The role of social media in patients’ engagement during clinical trials
Social media has opened up dozens of opportunities for clinical trials. It enables clinical research physicians to create connections, develop credibility, and share discoveries as thought leaders. Through channels like Facebook and Twitter, clinical trial management stakeholders can share relevant health alerts with patients, receive useful feedback, and bolster the success of clinical trials by building trust. By communicating with patients on social media, clinical trials lay the foundation for a positive relationship. On top of this, targeted social ads enable personalized patient outreach.
Research says that 80% of U.S internet users have looked for health information online. By interacting and engaging on social platforms where patients frequent, clinical trials can improve communication, revitalize word-of-mouth referrals, and provide better care by making sure patients interact with clinical trial information.
Using social media to generate patient insights and boost engagement
A 2020 study found that cancer patients turned away from traditional healthcare settings during the pandemic and engaged with social platforms for support and sharing their stories. The research concluded that social media remains a vital platform even if patients can access physical services post-pandemic. If social media is where patients can be found, clinical trials need to engage patients through social channels. That way, trials can prioritize the patient voice during the study, which is the cornerstone of patient-centric clinical studies. Social media communities related to particular clinical research help organizations track real patient experiences. That’s because the digital communities enable patients to share symptoms and treatment experiences that can contribute data for research.
Dozens of research organizations have done this, and here’s an example. In 2017, Shire Pharmaceuticals joined forces with PatientsLikeMe to create online communities for rare diseases. The aim was to give chronic condition patients the chance to share symptoms and treatment experiences that provide crucial research data. Such collaborations allow research companies to harness the vital perspectives of patients in several disease areas. With patients’ perspectives at your fingertips, it’s easy to boost engagement in clinical trials.
Appropriate patient engagement in social media
Clinical trials are well served to invest in building a social media presence because it is an effective and relatively inexpensive advertisement. However, ensuring appropriate engagement with patients on social platforms is critical. In social media, patients assess the credibility of content based on source, scientific language, design, and ease of use. Clinical trial professionals should identify content that perfectly fits their and their patients’ needs.
In the age of sharing information on social media, clinical trial professionals should remain the most reliable source online to provide patients with genuine information that can help boost trial engagement.