Social Media Offers New Recruitment Strategy for Clinical Trials

iHealthBeat: by Lisa Zamosky, Contributing Reporter – Thursday, March 01, 2012.

Facebook and clinical research may sound like strange bedfellows, but researchers from academic settings and the pharmaceutical industry have started to jump onto the social media bandwagon. Many researchers say social media can educate patients about the value of clinical research and encourage them to participate in studies.

The success of clinical research hinges, in large part, on the ability to recruit patients. Yet, targeting the right patients and retaining their participation is one of the greatest challenges researchers face. “The percentage of people getting involved in clinical trials is pretty low, and that’s a huge problem for us in this country,” said Naz Sykes, executive director of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.

According to a pharmaceutical industry analysis conducted by research firm Cutting Edge Information, an estimated 80% of trials fail to meet enrollment timelines, with as many as 50% of research trial sites enrolling one or no patients. Not only do failed recruitment efforts hamper basic research and delay medications making their way to market, the pharmaceutical industry estimates that it loses as much as $8 million in revenue for each day a drug is delayed.

To prevent such losses and attract more patients to clinical trials, researchers increasingly are turning to social media. Read more: