Doctors, Relatives Key Influencers When Patients Mull Trial Participation

Anne-Marie Hess, Senior Strategic Advisor and Market Intelligence Director, SCORR Marketing

Anne-Marie Hess, Senior Strategic Advisor and Market Intelligence Director, SCORR Marketing

A new survey of nearly 4,000 clinical trial participants says their doctors and family members have the most important influence on their decisions about joining trials.

“Family members or friends are often important influencers, and about half of the respondents wanted to hear about the clinical trial experience from patients that have already participated in studies,” said Anne-Marie Hess, senior strategic advisor and market intelligence director at SCORR Marketing, which produced the survey along with Antidote Technologies.

The “Patient Perspective on Clinical Trials” survey found that the most important motivators of participation in clinical trials vary by the patient’s condition and demographics. The research revealed how these factors can inform specific recruitment strategies, and the types of patient services and incentives that could make participation easier.

“One example is in the area of logistics—and the relative importance of the convenience of clinical trials,” Hess said. According to the survey, logistical concerns are more important to patients with lower incomes and less education. However, this varied by age group. Younger participants cared more about missing school or work, while older patients placed higher value on such conveniences as home visits.


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When it came to financial benefits such as free or lower cost healthcare, reimbursement for time and travel, or payment for participation, oncology and Type I diabetes patients were least inclined to believe these financial benefits were important. However, as expected, financial considerations were more important to lower income participants, Hess said.

Patients are willing to participate in clinical trials to help others and improve their quality of life, but safety remains a key consideration, Hess noted. “But the importance of physicians and other healthcare practitioners cannot be overstated,” she added. “Even with the diverse mechanisms companies use to recruit for clinical trials, the majority of patients want to hear about clinical trials primarily from their doctor.”

The research includes data gathered from a number of organizations, including the American Kidney Fund, Allergy & Asthma Network, Healthline, JDRF, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lupus Research Alliance, Melanoma Research Alliance, and Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.

Author: Michael Causey