7 Best Practices for Patient Recruitment
We often get asked to share some best practices on how we do patient recruitment and why it works so well. Obviously, we cannot share our secret recipe, but we think that it is important to share what we believe to be some of the main reasons for success or failure in digital patient recruitment.
We therefore aggregated 7 things people should keep in mind when starting patient recruitment campaigns:
1. Use channels where you can target people specifically
In the offline world, imagine an ad on a metropolitan subway. You can advertise a clinical trial and inform possible patients, but you do not know, if even one person on the subway has the disease that you would like to recruit. This means big scattering losses and too much money spent. In the online world, you have many opportunities to target people specifically by indication, interest, gender or region. This helps you to narrow down your target audience and to spend you marketing budget wisely. Thus, you should always use digital activities and channels that allow you to target your audience according to certain characteristics.
2. Use data wherever possible
Many third-party providers let you access data in order to filter your campaigns and target the right people. You can also start tracking your own website and all sub-pages so that you can find out, what your audience reads on your website and what they are not interested in. By storing user behavior, you can analyze and predict future campaign outcomes, which results in higher performing campaigns and less money spent.
3. Test & Optimize
The nice thing about online Marketing is that you can test many different marketing approaches almost in real-time. This means that you can check whether a picture of a male or female performs better with your ads or a certain copy brings more people to your website. Once, you know what works best, you can pause the non-performing ads and get better results with your best-performing recruitment activities.
4. Educate the Patient beforehand
Like most of us, patients don’t like to get pushed into something they don’t really understand. That’s why it is so important to educate patients about clinical trials in general before advertising a specific trial. Most patients are new to the concept of clinical trials and have certain concerns and fears that need to be addressed appropriately. At Mondosano, we make sure that we do so by writing articles about the most common questions around the concept of clinical trials. We also offer a telephone hotline for patients to call and a client email service to ask questions before registering with Mondosano.
5. Build technological infrastructure
Not everyone has the Know-How and the infrastructure in-house to build own technology. However, if you can, you can have an advantage in terms of datamining and analysis. For Mondosano this means, that we have built a tool called “Mondosano Predict”, which lets us analyze the size of our approachable target patient population before even doing any marketing. With the help of our own database, import of third-party data such as prevalence of indications by region or patient search behavior, we can give quite accurate estimates as to how many patients can be found for a particular trial.
6. Know your numbers
I’m always surprised to find out how many marketers do not know or track the results of their recruitment campaigns. At Mondosano, we strongly believe that you need to know your entire recruitment funnel from ad to randomization in order to know what worked and what did not. You need to compare results by channel, by target audience and other parameters so that budgets are always well spent. Use marketing controlling techniques to stay on top of your performance and store this information for future campaigns.
7. Choose a vendor that shares the risk
This best practice might look as if it is not really tight to digital recruitment, but it is. Let me explain to you how: If a patient recruitment provider is willing to share the risk with you (meaning you only pay him for performance), it means that he is confident that he will do a good job and succeed at recruiting for the study. If he was not convinced to achieve a good performance, he would not recruit in the first place, as he would not be paid in the end. No performance = no Income. A patient recruitment provider who does not assume any risk for his recruitment activities does not necessarily make a bad provider, but it implies that he is not willing to take on any risk for his patient recruitment activities and it leaves the question open as to why this is…