Harness Clinical Trial Result Communications to Improve Patient Recruitment

Julia Vail

Julia Vail, PMP, Clinical Research Communications Specialist, Duke Clinical Research Institute

Enlightened souls maintain it’s better to give than to receive—and two leading clinical trial practitioners at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) think it’s high time an industry so dependent on patients began treating them better.

In fact, that commitment should only be increasing at the end of a trial. “It’s the right thing to do—to show gratitude to patients” by sharing engaging, understandable, and succinct summaries of their clinical trial results with them, says Patty McAdams, MS, CCRA, a communications specialist with DCRI.

While the clinical trial industry doesn’t have a particularly strong reputation with patients and potential trial participants yet in this arena, Julia Vail, PMP, also a communications specialist with DCRI, believes a change is in the wind. “I see a genuine excitement” among clinical trial practitioners when it comes to doing a better job of developing and distributing trial results summaries, she notes.

Complimentary for ACRP Members—Webinar: Expressing Gratitude & Returning Aggregate Study Results to Participants—It’s the Right Thing to Do!

Join McAdams and Vail October 22 at 12:00pm ET for this Live Webinar. Learn proactive strategies to integrate thank you cards and lay summaries into the research process, from suggested informed consent language, to regulatory review and approval, through dissemination of results after the study is over.

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Writing and sharing trial results will also be beneficial to study coordinators and others who conducted the trials, Vail says.

Often, principal investigators will read about trial results in a published manuscript or through a resource like ClinicalTrials.gov, but in many cases coordinators don’t get much information about trial results after their role is completed, McAdams says.

Good summaries “honor their part in the process,” Vail says, referencing both patients and coordinators. “They can provide a sense of closure and build trust.”

Vail acknowledges it’s not always easy to do a good job when writing and constructing a summary for a non-medical audience. “We’re struggling” as an industry to do a better job, she says. It’s time to bring medical writers, patient advocates, and “everyone to the table” to ensure clinical trial result summaries are adequately tailored to their specific audience, she adds.

“It comes down to responding to an audience with the right design, use of white space, displaying bullet points, eliminating as much jargon as possible, and simplifying” overall communications, Vail explains.

Credibility is also key, of course, notes McAdams. Condensed summaries aimed at non-technical audiences must track closely with longer versions available on more academic channels, she says. “Translate, don’t just transcribe,” she advises.

Author: Michael Causey