Using patient research to push clinical trials forward

Patient research is a fast-moving field of clinical trials that gives precedence to the thoughts, opinions, and feelings a patient may have about their condition. Across the healthcare landscape, the notion is widely accepted. After all, if we are to help patients with their conditions, we must understand how that condition affects them. While overall, the industry is doing well to put patients at the heart of their own care, an accurate and nuanced understanding from patient research can offer real insights into the delivery of better clinical trials. It’s vital we capture the voice of patients in their own words rather than assuming we, as professionals, know what the perspective looks like.


Firstly, conducting patient research has two sides, one which benefits the patient and others like them, and one which benefits the the function of clinical trials. So, with all these benefits, both for the patient and the industry, patient research seems like a win/win, clear strategy that everyone should implement. While the benefits are clear, the routes to amassing this information, and moreover collecting information that can be transformed into actionable insights is considerably less obvious. However, there are a couple of key things you can consider when trying to navigate your way around this area.


Seeing beyond the patient

Although this might seem counterintuitive, you should strive to reach those who have minimal healthcare knowledge. After all, if someone inexperienced in seeking clinical trials finds clarity in your materials, you can say with conviction that you’ve considered the varying levels of health literacy. From there, you can involve the people that are important to the patient's life. Their family, friends or carers can often offer key insights on the effectiveness a medication may have on their condition, the usability of the packaging, or the clarity of the instructions. This information is all key if we as an industry are to continue bettering drug development for the future of disease control, prevention, and cure.


Speaking with, not at the patient

While doctors and scientists have in-depth medical knowledge on a range conditions, right down to the molecular make-up of a disease, it is important to understand how a condition affects somebody’s life. Therefore, it remains crucial to implement patient research in all stages of drug development and consider the way in which they understand a drug and its effectiveness. Even if they believe their symptoms may be related to something that bears no medical correlation to their condition, knowing this can often inform what symptoms affect them most, while also aiding how best to create materials that dispel myths about their condition. However, there’s no need to obsess over materials being scientifically precise, provided they can be interpreted safely. Being too technical can overwhelm health seekers as the information is neither helpful nor relevant to the lived reality of their condition. Accurate yet accessible is the balance we should always aim to achieve.


Patient research which leads to insight

Perhaps most crucially, when it comes to patient research, it is important to understand how patients feel, both physically and mentally. If we can better understand the way their condition affects their life, we can develop drugs that not only have clinical efficacy, but also provide better quality of life.

Today’s healthcare market is saturated with products and services, meaning patients have a variety of safe and effective treatment options available to them. What will set those options apart will be the meaningful impact they have on every aspect of a person’s life, beyond symptom management.


Making time to listen is all it takes

Whether you’re considering user testing, panel workshops, questionnaire or even just talking to patients, the above considerations can always be implemented to make these interactions beneficial for both parties. Whether a doctor looking for more insights on how to better manage health conditions or a clinical study team evaluating the efficacy of a new drug, at the heart of both is the patient's welfare. Most pharma companies understand and accept that insights are the way forward when it comes to brand recognition, uptake and adherence to prescribed courses of action or treatment. Yet most struggle to adapt current marketing practices to achieve a more holistic view of the health seeker and increase engagement with him or her on a deeper, more personal level.

If we can learn to listen effectively, compassionately and sincerely, we can begin to build insights into every aspect of the patient's journey, ultimately improving their experience of the healthcare they receive, and their life on a wider level.


Patient Recruitment Companies

Patient Research

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