Successful Clinical Trials Still Come Down to People, Not Technology

Nearly 25% of Survey Respondents Say mHealth Devices Did Not Return ROI in Clinical Trials

Nearly 25% of Survey Respondents Say mHealth Devices Did Not Return ROI in Clinical Trials

Good old-fashioned, in-patient contact remains far and away the most effective engagement tactic, according to a new survey of clinical research professionals from SCORR Marketing and Applied Clinical Trials.

In-person engagement was rated an 8.57 (on a 10-point scale), with phone contact at 7.45 and text messaging registering a 7.21. Interestingly, chat/instant messaging was last with a 5.37 rating, while companion apps posted 5.38.

Mobile health (mHealth) wearables received a decidedly mixed verdict: 43%, or a plurality of respondents, said they were unsure of their value. Nearly 25% outright said mHealth devices did not improve return on investment (ROI) in clinical trials.

“This uncertainty over whether technological innovations provide positive ROI may be impacted by a growing belief that innovations take too long to implement,” the survey report suggested. Respondents from larger companies were more likely to say these technologies positively impact ROI than those from smaller companies.


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Meanwhile, contract research organizations (CROs) are especially unlikely to have dedicated patient-related personnel; only 13% of respondents from CROs said they did. However, 37% of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies boasted such employees.

Just over half of those involved in patient recruitment were the most likely to report that their companies have a person or department primarily responsible for patient engagement. On the other side of the ledger, project managers (27%) and respondents in clinical operations (also 27%) were the least likely to report this.

At 44%, those who work at research sites were especially inclined to cite lack of funds as their most significant challenges. However, not a single pharma or biopharma company said it was an issue in their shops.

Project managers (45%) were the most likely job function to select a lack of earmarked money in the budget as their biggest challenge, while those in patient recruitment (15%) were least likely to do so among segments of the survey respondents.

The survey offered some interesting bottom-line conclusions, including:

  • Older patients are the easiest to engage.
  • Despite the popularity of patient centricity and patient engagement, many companies do not actually seek feedback from patients.

“Companies should sufficiently fund patient engagement initiatives,” the report summed up. “They know they should be more patient-centric, and doing so could provide a positive impact on patient participation and the outcomes of clinical research.”

Download a Free Copy of the Report

Author: Michael Causey