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Revolutionizing Patient Engagement in Clinical Trials | A Medidata NEXT Global Series

Mar 16, 2022 - 3 min read
Revolutionizing Patient Engagement in Clinical Trials | A Medidata NEXT Global Series

Medidata’s annual event series—NEXT Global—brought together leaders from across the life sciences industry, including representatives from Moderna, Merck, AbbVie, and more to discuss innovative ways to foster patient engagement in clinical trials.

We’ve compiled highlights of these discussions below, including the evolution of patient-first solutions, methods to drive engagement in minority communities and diversity in clinical trials, and the power of patient insights to shape clinical trial offerings.

The Shift to a Patient-centric Paradigm

The evolving landscape of clinical trials has revolutionized the patient experience. The rising adoption of decentralized clinical trials, along with sensors, wearables, and advanced data and insights, offer a unique opportunity for the development of technologies designed with patients in mind.

Patient-centric solutions foster diversity and improve patient engagement in clinical trials. Innovations like telehealth and advancements in eConsent or eCOA make it easier and more flexible for patients to participate. However, such technological improvements have the potential to overwhelm patients with too many devices, logins, or training. 

A single destination patient portal is critical to provide a seamless patient experience from pre-trial engagement through registries to the conclusion of the trial and post-trial follow up or engagement. Patients can complete every aspect of the clinical trial in a single, web-based portal, including all screenings and consent forms, virtual visits, eCOA forms, and sensor data capture, as well as post-trial data return. All patient clinical trial activities are accessible in one place. This greatly simplifies the patient experience while offering greater access to one’s data.


“If our goal is patient centricity, we must begin by engaging patients beyond just a single study experience—ideally with a single platform so they can have longitudinal access to their previous data, their future data, and the ability to go in and out of studies as needed for their condition.”

– Anthony Costello, CEO, Patient Cloud®, Medidata


Driving Diverse Patient Engagement

While improving the patient experience drives better engagement rates and patient recruitment for clinical trials, there is an undeniable need for more diverse representation of patient populations in clinical trials. Underserved and hard-to-reach communities are too often neglected in clinical research. Sponsors and sites can incorporate key strategies to make sure minority populations are adequately represented in clinical trials.

Building inclusivity into trial designs from the start and closely monitoring enrollment to achieve a diverse patient pool are critical. Community outreach must be considered to help educate and engage with hesitant populations to start an open dialogue.

Additionally, the advent of decentralized clinical trial technologies allows for greater access to hard-to-reach communities. Patients can now participate in clinical research without the burdens of lengthy travel to and from sites, costly transportation fees, and time off work. Sponsors must address these socioeconomic barriers to clinical trials to drive diverse patient engagement and collect more well-rounded data sets.


“We're at an inflection point where we can fully embrace these technologies that have been around for at least a decade or more, and start to incorporate them and reimagine how we think about clinical trials. Now that there's interest in having representative trials and that these technologies are starting to mature, such as remote monitoring, telemedicine, and so on, we have this ability to think about things differently.”

– Christopher Boone, PhD, Vice President, Global Head, Health Economics & Outcomes Research, AbbVie


The Power of Patient Insights

When designing clinical trial solutions for patients, life sciences companies should seek out feedback from patients. Developers often make assumptions about how users will react to their clinical trial technology without incorporating the end user’s perspective in solution design. Infusing the patient perspective into the software development lifecycle creates patient-focused products that enhance the overall patient experience.

Is your product interface intuitive? Or does it cause confusion for patients using the software? Is the user journey complicated or streamlined? These are the types of questions that patient insights help answer.

Better patient retention and engagement in clinical trials stem from patient satisfaction. And since patients are the end-users for clinical trial solutions, ensuring the best possible patient experience brings value to everyone involved in the trial.


“If we're working with our team of patient advocates and they're making suggestions, we want to be able to implement those changes or deliver a path forward for some of those ideas to make their way into a future product that we'd offer.”

– Alicia Staley, Vice President, Patient Engagement, Medidata



As the life sciences industry expands its focus on patient centricity, companies must develop multi-faceted approaches that put patients first in clinical research. Patient-friendly platforms that leverage simplicity and engage patients throughout the entire clinical trial lifecycle are the future. Community engagement and inclusion can be built into the trial design itself, while patient feedback can be incorporated to create a better patient experience overall. These innovations are pivotal in moving patient centricity from an industry buzzword to best practice.

Learn more about how to improve the overall patient experience in clinical trials—as told by top industry experts.

Download our eBook below.

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