The ongoing patient recruitment challenge continues throughout the information age, where less than 5% of eligible adults participate in cancer clinical trials despite the fact that in case after case lives are being extended by clinical trials. Although the research points out that the physicians that design and conduct studies greatly influence participation growing real-world evidence shines the light on physicians that discuss trials in social media may have a greater impact on more trial participation. Yet physicians conducting the research share concerns about the use of social media to boost trial enrollment.
In a recent study published in JAMA Open Network, Mina S. Sedrak, MD, MPH, HemOnc Today Next Gen Innovator, breast cancer oncologist and assistant professor with City of Hope and colleagues conducted a qualitative study of 44 oncologists at the City of Hope as reported by Healio HemOnc Today.
Several positive impacts of social media on clinical trial recruitment and enrollment were identified by the physicians, including visibility and awareness of trials and boosting participation, not to mention communication. Some disadvantages included more administrative burden, the risk involved with misinformation, and limited outreach. Many physicians suggested there needs to be more prescribed guidance for online patient recruitment via social media engagement.
Follow the link to read from one of the authors: William Dale, MD, Ph.D., the Arthur M. Coppola family chair in supportive care medicine, director of the Center for Cancer & Aging at City of Hope for an important, and interesting perspective on the results—and for how the study results can be applied in the real world to clinical trial populations.
Dale reports to Healio that clinical trial participant awareness increases with the use of social media. Dale raised some of the burdens already mentioned—e.g., administrative burden as well as the lack of regulatory oversight over the information being presented about the trial. Social networks such as Facebook are powerful channels to promote studies, but the accuracy and integrity of the content are essential. But there still lacks an industry-standard way to measure results.
William Dale, MD, PhD, the Arthur M. Coppola family chair in supportive care medicine, director of the Center for Cancer & Aging at City of Hope
Call to Action: Follow the source to the Healio Hemonc published results for those interested in the use of social media to boost patient participation in a study by physicians conducting clinical trials.