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Compliance In Focus
Posted by John Lehmann on Fri, Aug 17, 2012

Should We Use Social Media to Recruit Study Subjects?

Social Media RecruitmentThe growth of social media over recent years has been astounding. Just take a look at the figures  : In 2005, only 5% of American adults used social media, six years later the percentage had grown to 50%, and this number continues to rise. So how is our industry reacting to this new trend?

We recently  touched on the subject of social media and its value to medical device companies in promoting their products. However, it seems that social media is now becoming more commonly utilized earlier in the life cycle of these products – during the clinical trial patient recruitment process.

By improving clinical trial awareness and widening the pool of potential research candidates, the potential of social media is obvious. However, recruiting patients via this channel is not without significant challenges and dilemmas.

Rahlyn Gossen (founder of Rebar Interactive) writes frequently on the subject of social media and patient recruitment. In a recent blog article she dealt with the question of whether a study should use social media for its patient recruitment, and lists the 3 major options available:

  • Listen
    • What are patients currently saying about clinical research and participating in studies?
  • Borrow
    • What are other industry leaders doing? Participate in their social media presence and start creating your own!
  • Build
    • This takes commitment but the more you put in, the more likely you are to reap the full benefits!

She also penned an article which appeared in International Clinical Trials which describes a social media feasibility model.

The difficulty, however, lies in selecting the most suitable situations for social media use in patient recruitment. Many research professionals are confused and overwhelmed by this new world of social media, including the challenges and potential that comes with it. Some apprehensions may steam from:

  • Patient Protection
  • Confidentiality Concerns
  • Information Overload

What are your views on the role of social media in clinical trials? Have you used social media to recruit for a trial? Or have you enrolled in a trial yourself through your use of social media? We’d like to hear your thoughts.

Photo Credit:  KEXINO

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Topics: social media, Recruitment, Clinical Research


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