Patient Centricity: UX in Clinical Research
UX is increasingly becoming vital to the tech industry and it’s not hard to see why. UX, or user experience design, enhances user satisfaction with a product by improving its usability, accessibility, and the overall enjoyment it provides. With the influx of new apps and technologies, there is an increased need not only “hook” the consumer but keep the consumer satisfied in the long-term. In a case study reported by User Experience Magazine, a few tweaks to the donation website for the American Heart Association made the site easier to navigate and in turn yielded a 60% increase in online donations for the organization.
Clearly, the focus on the user helps create a successful product. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the clinical research industry is adopting principles from the UX field. Patient centricity in clinical research seeks to address the industry’s trouble with enrollment and drop outs. By designing a clinical trial around the needs of the patient, patient centered trials can not only increase trial enrollment but also increase satisfaction with clinical trial participation.
One of the most exciting moves towards patient centricity came in 2017 with the first ever clinical trial simulation. In order to better understand the patient and site experience, Astra Zeneca launched the first ever mock clinical trial. Two research centers simulated consent, screening, and dosing visits for two proposed lupus protocols. The simulation and the post-simulation interviews with patients and site staff generated over 60 different recommendations for the sponsor to help tailor the trial.
In a recent blog post, the ACRP suggested reaching out to patient influencers to gain insights on coping with a medical condition, and to receive feedback on potential trial participation. With a multitude of bloggers documenting their lives with chronic illness, reaching out to social media influencers can be relatively easy. Among the most notable of health influencers is Talia Joy Castellano who gained 1.4 million followers over her 2 year YouTube run by chronicling her life after a neuroblastoma diagnosis. This tactic is common in tech, as companies regularly reach out to their “power users” to help keep their products user-centered. This approach has the potential of benefitting clinical research in two ways: influencer feedback can help improve clinical trial design but more importantly relationships with influencers can help soften the image of clinical research to the public, and make people more open to being a trial participant, regardless of medical condition.
As a clinical research professional, it’s exciting to see innovative approaches towards patient centricity. It is particularly interesting to see the intertwine between tech and clinical research. Though it might take some time to see the results of these initiatives, it is comforting that we are taking a step in the right direction: designing clinical trials with the patient in mind.
About the Author:
Marina Martinez is the clinical research coordinator at ePatient Finder. For the past 9 years she has worked with research patients in a variety of therapeutic areas including oncology and neurology. She is a Texas native and holds a PhD in Physiological Sciences from the University of Arizona.