Blog 2 minute read

What’s the true purpose of patient engagement in a clinical trial?

A growing number of clinical trial stakeholders recognize the need to build and execute a patient engagement strategy. It’s an exciting development for the industry. But when I look deeper into “patient engagement strategies,” I often find little more than digitized paper processes. Patient engagement is relegated to a checkbox exercise — a series of text reminders about upcoming site visits or other study to-dos.

Although there’s value in such reminders, that approach to patient engagement misses much larger opportunities. To improve patient retention. To enhance the timeliness and accuracy of data capture. To deliver more real-time visibility throughout a trial.

Datacubed Health supports those goals through patient engagement based on behavioral science — that is, the study of how people make decisions.

If you haven’t considered how behavioral science intersects with clinical trials, you aren’t alone. Applying behavioral science research to clinical research is a new idea. However, behavioral science is well established. In fact, the past two decades have seen this discipline shift from academia to widespread use.

Ever signed up for a trial of an online subscription service? Chances are, you would be automatically enrolled (and billed) unless you opted out. That’s an example of behavioral science being used on you as a consumer. Ever decided to have money automatically transferred from your paycheck to your savings account? That’s an example of using behavioral science on yourself! Choice architecture is also at work encouraging people to make healthier eating choices, to become organ donors and to participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

In the clinical trial world, such techniques increase the likelihood that patients will stay enrolled. They also increase the odds that patients will remain actively engaged and consistently compliant throughout the trial. Improving patient engagement and compliance supports more accurate, more complete data capture. Better data — and wider, more timely visibility to that data — helps in monitoring the progress of the trial.

In other words, the purpose of patient engagement isn’t to deliver friendly reminders. It’s to improve retention and, ultimately, support the success of your trial. That’s why Datacubed Health leverages ePRO/eCOA for patient engagement based on behavioral science. We’re passionate about delivering a better experience to patients and better outcomes for clinical trials.

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