Survey: Clinical Trials Are Important, But Hard to Find
A global survey of attitudes and perceptions about clinical research trials found both the public and those who have participated in a trial convinced of their importance, but lacking in understanding about how they work and largely uninformed about opportunities for participation.
Conducted by the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation and published last week on JAMA Network Open, the purpose of the survey was to see how perceptions of clinical research among the public and clinical trial participants have evolved in order to aid trial managers and others in developing more effective outreach and participant engagement strategies. Similar surveys were conducted in 2013 and 2015.
Among the findings were that 84.5% of the 12,427 respondents perceived clinical research to be very important to the discovery and development of new medicines. Far fewer -- 44.9% -- said their physician rarely if every mentioned trials when discussing treatments or medications.
Overall, the authors of the report, said, "The results also revealed several significant roadblocks: knowledge gaps among the lay public about where and how research takes place, limited physician involvement in discussing clinical trials as treatment options, and the inconveniences that patients encounter once they volunteer to participate."
They recommended a number of initiatives clinical researchers and trial managers should take including:
- Reducing and eliminating unnecessary clinical trial procedures to simplify the protocol design
- Soliciting patient input into protocol design to improve protocol relevance and convenience
- Sending electronic alerts to physicians and nurses about clinical trials available to specific patients.
- Reaching out to patients via community champions and patient advocacy groups
- Providing ongoing support of educational initiatives designed to raise awareness and increase deeper knowledge about the clinical research process.