Anyone involved with clinical trial recruiting knows that recruitment is a major barrier to ensuring the success of the trial. Although there is an abundance of research aimed at determining how to better recruit patients into clinical trials, the majority of studies have focused on consumer attitudes towards clinical trials and ways to target specific demographics through distinct media and distinct messaging.

This focus on clinical trial attitudes has neglected clinical trial awareness as a potentially even bigger reason for inadequate clinical trial participation, and one that can positively affect recruitment. Research has shown that clinical trial awareness helps to change negative attitudes regarding clinical trials. One study in particular showed that, at the time of diagnosis, 85 percent of people did not know if a clinical trial was an option for them. Perhaps more surprising, 75 percent of these people reported that they would be willing to participate in a clinical trial. Unfortunately, without awareness, there can be no participation.

But Don’t Fall into the Trap of Counterproductive Television Ads

Clinical trial awareness is therefore key to solving the clinical trial recruitment challenge. But how can we increase awareness in the complex, often overwhelming healthcare industry?

Television ads focused on clinical trials often effectively raise awareness about the specific disease being studied in the trial but typically fail in prompting consumers to enroll in the actual trial itself. There are several reasons for this. One is that consumers may simply not be able to remember the specific name of the trial or drug that was advertised on TV. Another is that if consumers do remember enough to begin a basic search online for more information, they may find contradictory websites. For instance, consumers may find information on promising drugs and assume that clinical trials are not necessary. Or, they may come across unfavorable information about clinical trials and decide to not enroll.

Ensure that the Most Memorable Aspect of Your Ad is Specific to Your Trial

To drive your audience to information about your trial, it’s important to provide a simple, easy to remember call-to-action that directly connects them to your website or call center. With the increasing interest in virtual trials, or hybrid trials, participants can be anywhere and not be confined to the metropolitan area of the participating sites alone. This ultimately increases your efficiency by using national cable. If you utilize a web address and phone number that includes an easy to remember niche phrase that resonates with your audience, that speaks to treating their medical condition, your enrollment rate will improve dramatically.

Research has indeed shown that 90 percent of Americans have used toll-free numbers to reach an organization after viewing their ad. The correlation between taking action and receiving memorable information is paramount. 72 percent of people can remember vanity toll-free numbers after hearing them, while only 5 percent can remember non-vanity numbers.

However, when implementing the vanity URL and phone number strategy, clinical trial recruiters often use vanity URLs and phone numbers that are complex and difficult to remember, defeating the purpose of vanity messaging. To overcome this common hurdle, campaigns should instead employ vanity URLs and phone numbers that are simple, memorable, and relevant for the consumer. When calls come in, your trial experts can determine eligibility and help enroll them.

As other industries become more consumer-centric, consumers will expect the same from healthcare. By shifting focus from the organization’s needs to the consumer’s needs – not just at the health level, but also at the communications level – clinical trial recruiters can vastly increase their success in enhancing clinical trial participation. The strategic use of vanity URLs and phone numbers is a proven technique that clinical trial recruiters can use to achieve not only their goals but a goal of all healthcare stakeholders: access to more and better medicines that save and improve lives.

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