Clinical Trial Communication Becomes Less Clinical
This week the National Institute of Health (NIH) launched “NIH Clinical Trials Research and You,” a clinical trials website for patients and caregivers without being, well, clinical. Eye on FDA first brought this to my attention and I’ve been referring to it daily for my own work ever since.
There are many factors that are needed for a clinical trial to be successful. Unfortunately, many trials are delayed or never completed due to low enrollment. Without enough people in the study, the data can’t be statistically significant. This is a large problem for orphan and other less commonly diagnosed diseases. This is also why groups like the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium have been instrumental in accelerating new treatments for smaller populations.
For years most people thought “clinical trial” meant “guinea pig” or “last resort.” These misconceptions are hampering researchers from bringing life-saving treatments into standard of care. Thanks to the work of healthcare communications among hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and the government this perception is finally starting to shift to “promising,” “early access,” “and “cutting-edge.”
We’ve been supporting our clients in their clinical trial communications. Patients use to wait until their doctor approached them about trials or conducted a “last resort” search on Clinicaltrials.gov. Now hospitals are making the information easily accessible by adding search functions on their websites - Fred Hutchinson, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the John Theurer Cancer Center (which we helped build). While pharma companies, including our client BHR Pharma, are providing educational tools to help healthcare professionals handle tough questions from patients.
More than 2.3 million people participate in clinical trials each year receiving early access to possible life-saving treatments. With the NIH website and many other patient-focused initiatives popping up expect this number to continue to grow.