Blue Chip Patient Recruitment (Northbrook, Ill.), a division of global, full-service marketing agency Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide, has authored a white paper, "Patient Recruitment and the E-patient: A Survey Analysis," advising patient recruitment specialists on how to effectively implement social media into their recruitment strategies.
It summarizes the results of a market research survey Blue Chip conducted of 179 adults from February through April 2011 and offers 11 key takeaways for recruitment specialists to consider when interacting with the E-Patient population (actively-engaged members of health-related social media networks). These include:
- Engage a Physician: Credibility continues to be one of the biggest obstacles for E-Patients when considering participating in a clinical trial. Eighty percent of survey respondents prefer to receive clinical trial information online from a physician, indicating that physicians need to play an active role in online communities. Only 19% of respondents were comfortable receiving information through a Facebook wall and 14% comfortable receiving it via a Twitter profile.
- Develop Approved Responses in Advance: Of even greater concern than credibility is clinical trial safety, as clinical trials in general have adopted a negative stigma within society. Forty-one percent of surveyed individuals expressed most concern with trial safety, as compared with only 36% who were more concerned about trial credibility. The white paper recommends developing a variety of approved responses prior to launching social campaigns, which can address an E-Patient's concern about drug safety and other frequently asked questions.
- Be Relevant to the Audience: While the goal is to recruit patients for the trial, it is important to first establish a role in the community. If the communication via online message forums is solely about the trial, the representatives will most likely be seen as intruders and message pushers. They can build credibility by posting relevant content, being attentive to the tenor of the dialogue, being consistent with the frequency of their interactions and being timely with responses.