A clinical trial’s patient retention program is a perfect example of the importance of co-creation. We often see clinical operations teams express interest in placing their study logo on a tote bag, pen, or calendar with the hope that these items will keep patients motivated to continue participating in a clinical trial.
Gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges a specific patient population faces with their medical care, in addition to understanding the items the patient audience perceives to have value, can help you develop a thoughtful patient retention program.
Although a study-branded pen or calendar may be a good reminder of study participation, it might not actually help with patient engagement and retention.
As you plan a patient retention program for your clinical trial, it is easy to revert back to a strategy used in a previous study or recommend a few items that you particularly like. However, it’s important to focus on the needs of the patient and caregiver:
- What does the patient population value?
- What will keep them interested in continuing to come back for their study visits?
- Are there specific items or means of communication that will be beneficial in patients’ daily lives?
While patient retention programs can become an afterthought for longitudinal or time-intensive studies, upfront planning is key to a well-thought-out program. Engage the nurses and coordinators who regularly see these patients. Tap into patient advocacy groups or social listening to better understand what this patient population values and what may help them manage their clinical trial participation.
Think beyond just the tangible items: Could there be certain points of contact that the patient and caregiver may want, such as lifestyle recommendations, recipes, or resources to help manage their medical condition? Does this unique patient audience have an ideal way they would like to be reminded about upcoming appointments?
As a critical element of a successful clinical trial, it’s important to map out a patient retention strategy. Including patients in the process with co-creation will go a long way to ensuring an authentic and effective patient recruitment program for your trial.