Digital patient recruitment: Overcoming the challenges of connecting with patients

How many irrelevant experiences, ads, emails, direct messages have you rejected this week?

Did you know globally Google ads have a 1.91% engagement rate? Facebook has a 1.61% engagement rate?

We as humans are rejecting the way ads are shown to us again and again and again. Disagree? Well research has found that 98% of ads are ignored, which equates to $265 billion per year wasted. Which leads me to launch our newest video about why ads are not working. This blog outlines how to overcome the challenges of digital patient recruitment.

When creating digital outreach materials for your clinical trial, are you putting yourself in the patients’ shoes and thinking about what they’d want to see? Do you think the content you create is truly connecting with your target audience?

We’re diving deep into the psychology behind digital patient recruitment and why it’s important to connect with patients on an emotional level. For this blog we’re breaking down the barriers a digital-first world creates when trying to establish genuine connections for your digital outreach materials.


Why digital patient recruitment with patients is hard

In a world where online communication is the norm, and the number of platforms to reach people continues to increase, fighting for the attention of your target audience comes as no surprise. With so much information available with the click of a button, you’re most likely thinking “what can I do to reach the patients I’m looking for, and get them to read my stuff?” — right?

Your clinical trial is just one out of many others, so connecting with your patients in such a competitive, online world can be difficult:


  • More platforms: There are more channels than ever before to choose from to reach your patients. And while that might sound like a positive, it can be difficult to cut through the noise. You’re faced with the challenge of not only trying to reach the patients you’re looking for, but getting them to want to read more about your clinical trial and engage with you.
  • Increased pressure: Everyone is online, so you need to be too. But the pressure to continually create eye-catching digital outreach materials and publish it to make sure you’re being seen can be challenging.
  • Building trust: As digital communication increases, human interaction decreases. And it can be difficult to build a trusting relationship with patients online rather than face-to-face.


To overcome these challenges, you need to create content that means something to your patients and provides exactly what they’re looking for. That means you need to find out their preferences, and use that for your clinical trial content.

Many will say that the key to understanding what your patients want is through insights, and simply asking them. And they’re right. However, understanding patient preferences can be difficult if you’re not asking the right questions or if communication from both sides isn’t effective. You could find yourself trying to connect the dots between what patients think, feel, say, and do online.

That’s where using the psychology behind human behaviour comes in.


How social listening and the principles of psychology can uncover patient behaviour

So, in short: connecting with patients digitally is challenging. And gaining patient insights to try to find out what they want, so that you can engage with them effectively, can be challenging. But a solution to this could be using social listening tools.

Social listening can help you understand the psychology behind patient behaviour, and you’ll be surprised at the insights you can gain from this. For example, how patients are talking about certain things, how they’re interacting with others, and the content they’re engaging with, can all help you to find out their preferences. It gives you clues as to what patients find important. You can then use those insights to create more meaningful content for your patients and help a digital patient recruitment strategy.

So, what are you waiting for? The power of psychology can help you to communicate effectively with patients for your clinical trial. Make sure you look out for the rest of our blogs in this series, where you can find out more details about the psychology of decisions, and how empathy is critical when it comes to your clinical trial content and engaging with patients.




At COUCH Health, our goal is to make clinical trials more human. If you’re looking to improve your clinical trial content and engage with patients more successfully, get in touch with us today at and we’d love to chat.


Patient Recruitment

Ash Rishi

As a failed neuroscientist, Ash has sought to bring meaningful change to the healthcare industry ever since by working at some of the biggest agencies in the world, his career spans more than 10 years. His expertise lies in creative communications, patient engagement, diversity & inclusion and patient recruitment strategies for clinical trials – with the ultimate goal in life to make clinical trials more human. When he isn’t doing all that, he’s anticipating the latest movie, expanding that love to screenwriting or trying to be creative.

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