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Patient engagement vs patient experience: what’s the difference?


We all talk a lot about patient engagement and patient experience. And sometimes, these terms are used interchangeably across the industry. But while they’re both important, they’re not the same. So, let’s quickly clear up once and for all what the difference between patient engagement and patient experience is, so we can make sure that we’re doing the best possible job in both areas…

Patient engagement

Patient engagement involves building the capacity of patients, families, carers and healthcare providers to facilitate and support the active involvement of patients in their own care, in order to enhance safety, quality and people-centredness. In short, patient engagement puts patients back in control of their own health and how it’s managed. Makes sense, right?

In clinical trials, there are loads opportunities to engage with patients:


  • To find unmet needs

  • Study planning and protocol design

  • Supporting a recruitment and retention strategy

  • Feedback on processes


The outcomes of this can be massively beneficial, including better:


Patient experience

Patient experience is more about the outcomes of how we interact with patients. Every interaction they have with healthcare, everything that they feel on their patient journey, and everything that happens to them, all come together to form an overall patient experience. In clinical research, we can try and take control of and improve the patient experience by using insights from patient engagement activities. Examples include adjusting a protocol design to make it more patient-centric or making the design of a clinical study website more patient friendly. Small changes like these can make the patient experience more positive overall.

Whether you’re looking to boost patient engagement or experience, we’re here to make it simple, so get in touch. And to learn more about how to design your study with patients at the core, check out our white paper.



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