Target Health Blog

Global Public Attitudes About Clinical Research and Patient Experiences With Clinical Trials

October 15, 2018

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Public Policy
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Editor's Note: Take Heed: Clinical trial participation was perceived as inconvenient and burdensome; in the latest survey, 1,075 respondents (49%) expressed that their clinical trial participation disrupted their daily routine.

According to an article published in JAMA Open Networks (December 2018), a study was performed to identify the views of clinical trial participants and nonparticipants and characterize trends in these views over time. This survey study included a questionnaire that was administered online from May 8 to July 24, 2017, by the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), and findings were compared with previous studies conducted in 2013 and 2015. The 2017 sample included responses from 12,427 individuals from 68 countries and represents a 10% participation rate. Similar to international assessments conducted by the CISCRP and other organizations, this study drew responses from a convenience sample; any adult older than 18 years who received an email or had online access was eligible to participate. The main outcome measures were changes observed in the perceptions and clinical trial experiences of the public and study volunteers compared with past CISCRP studies.

A total of 12,427 individuals 55 +/- 15] years, of whom 7,355 (59%) were female; 10,085 (81%) were caucasian, and 2,194 (17.7%) of whom had participated in previous clinical research studies, responded to the survey in 2017. Results indicated a belief in the importance of clinical research, but limited understanding of the research process persists. In 2017, a total of 10,506 individuals (84.5%) perceived clinical research to be very important to the discovery and development of new medicines; however, 4,079 of 6,919 respondents (59%) were unable to name a place where studies were conducted. A total of 11,182 respondents (90%) believed that clinical research is generally safe; however, 5,578 (44.9%) reported that clinical trials are rarely considered as an option when discussing treatments or medications with their physician. Clinical trial participation was perceived as inconvenient and burdensome; in the latest survey, 1,075 respondents (49%) expressed that their clinical trial participation disrupted their daily routine.

According to the authors, the results of this study may provide a foundation from which to build meaningful and effective engagement with the public and patients and revealed roadblocks, including knowledge gaps among the public, limited physician involvement in discussing clinical trials as treatment options, and the inconveniences that patients encounter after they volunteer to participate. These findings may inform patient engagement strategies and tactics and ultimately help accelerate the drug-development process.

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