Social Media – its ever-increasing importance to clinical research

2 min read
First Published: 
Jul 2019

Key Learnings contained in this article:

In the past, no-one would have considered social media as an essential part of patient engagement, let alone patient recruitment.  However, Neil Weisman from Continuum Clinical explained during a session at the DIA, that patients don’t look up their disease or question their treatment via Google – mostly it’s via social media, no matter what the age of the patient. So how could the industry use this discovery to improve patient recruitment? One of the issues is that all platforms target their users differently, and it’s paramount to understand this before trying to approach a specific audience.

It’s been estimated that by 2020 videos will account for 80% of all consumer traffic – but that sound is not an important factor. 85% of video content on social media is played without sound – and another issue is, people don’t want to turn their phones horizontal; so the most effective media is a soundless video designed to be optimal in a vertical phone orientation. And you have 6 – 10 seconds maximum to convey your message.

Taking this information into consideration, the Continuum Clinical group now get more than half their randomisations (i.e. patients actually entered into randomised trials) from social media.  They also gain insights into social activities (social intelligence) and these insights help inform other activities for patient recruitment.  The percentage of randomisations via social media is increasing year on year, and the cost per randomization is between 30% and 78% lower. And is so much faster.

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Ruth Whittington
CEO of Rx Values Group Ltd
MSc(hons), NZSRN
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