The majority of current approaches to clinical trial recruitment are process driven, consisting of forms and automation wherever possible and with little in the way of humanity or personality. So it is not surprising that recruiting participants and retaining them can be a challenge. In this ‘information age’ when a problem grows in complexity solutions are often sort in dissemination of information.
Why are companies so obsessed with transmission (speaking to, talking at)? There are repeatedly calls from professionals with a sentiment that paraphrases to “if only patients knew…XXX…then they would be/act/behave differently”. This mindset leads to huge attempts to design the perfect transmission of information. It is a mindset straight from our cultural bias and a desire to act. “Don’t just sit there, do something”.
An invitation to talk, from a person genuinely interested in anything I might say, with no agenda, no judgement, no fixed set of questions…Now there we might have something innovative. Stop trying to compete for a person’s attention, give them yours. “Don’t just do something, sit there” …and listen, really listen. Listen to what the people you want to influence say and how they say it. It will be the single most influential thing you do.
There is no excuse for launching a clinical trial without involving potential participants. When you do, and you really listen to them you will often end up with a protocol that works for patients, materials in a language that they understand and recruitment that is better than expected, without trying too hard to do that.