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How to use your clinical study website to engage and retain participants

Firstly, if your clinical study has a website, great work - it’s almost unbelievable in this day and age, but many don’t! Simply having a website can really improve your chances of enrolling the participants you need (and why wouldn’t you do everything you can to achieve that?!). Anyway, we discuss how to ensure you create a clinical study website that informs and enhances experiences for patients and HCPs in our previous blog, here. In this blog, we’re looking at how you can also use your website to keep your participants engaged, happy and retained on your clinical study.

Preventing the dreaded participant drop-out

Patient recruitment is low, participant drop-out rates are high. You don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that those numbers don’t equal a good outcome for your clinical study. But this is where your study’s website can be a great opportunity to engage with your participants and keep your connection and interaction with them strong.

Creating a sense of belonging:

Throughout the clinical study, it’s important to reassure participants that you care about their thoughts and feelings. It shows that you have a human side and makes them feel appreciated. One way to do this is by conducting patient surveys on your website to find out how they feel about their experience so far. And it’s a pretty good way to gather insights into what’s working well, and what’s not!

Creating a community or forums section on your website can work in a similar way. Again, it can give you direct access to important participant insights that you can use to improve your study experience. For participants, it can really help create a sense of belonging in a situation where some could feel isolated or alone. Giving them a place to turn if they want to talk to others who understand what they’re going though, and share knowledge and information, can alleviate frustrations and be a great comfort.

Ensuring participants feel listened to:

If your participants have questions and concerns, it’s understandable that you might not have study representatives on-hand to assist. But do you want this to be a reason for participants to leave your study? One way to prevent this, could be adding a chatbot feature to your website. That way, all participants need to do is log on to speak directly to a study representative. And even if they don’t get the answers they need immediately, they’ll feel listened to and acknowledged.

Helping improve understanding:

There’s a lot of information for participants to take in before, and throughout a clinical study. It can be overwhelming, so understandable that participants will forget key information. But your website can help prevent this from becoming an issue by finding engaging ways to relay that information. For example, videos are more digestible, relatable and appealing to people when pitted against reams of text which would be off-putting.

Your clinical study website can be a place where participants feel reassured, connected with, and part of a community - all of which can help you significantly improve your retention rates. By taking a patient-centric approach to your participants’ journey throughout the study, you can identify techniques like the above that help enhance their experience at these important stages.

We take a closer look at how your website can help you better engage with participants during your study in our white paper: Unleash the power of your clinical study website to engage patients and inform HCPs. Here we discuss the top information patients want during the study, ideas for engagement, and the role social media can play.

If you’d like to find out more about our patient and HCP website expertise, or discuss how we can guide you strategically and creatively in developing a clinical study website that works at every stage of the participant journey, contact us today.

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