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What the Public Thinks about Clinical Trials

by Melynda Geurts
Diverse survey response

Our Survey

In the Fall of 2015, we launched a survey to the general public to learn how they gather healthcare information and how they make decisions.  We also wanted to gauge their knowledge about and interest in clinical trials.  We intentionally surveyed the general public as to get an “unbiased” response in comparison to those that had already participated in a clinical trial.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing the survey results and our insights into their meaning in a series of posts.

All told, we received responses from over 4,500 people. The first question asked was who they were answering the survey for, themselves or someone they care for.  This was critical in understanding the thought process of all those that may be trial participants sometime in the future.  Seventy percent completed the survey for themselves and thirty percent are caregivers to someone with a specific illness.  Most of the respondents seek out information where we’d expect with healthcare providers reported as 79% and the internet reported as 72%.  People are still looking to healthcare providers for guidance while the internet likely arms them with information they would like to ask or discuss with their physician.  A recent focus group of men diagnosed with prostate cancer seems to bear this out.  The men said they went online immediately to conduct research  once they received their diagnosis; and took that information back to their physician for their input and guidance.

It was very encouraging to see that 2/3rd of survey respondents had indeed heard about clinical trials.  And as efforts such as the “clinical trial rebranding” continue to take place, we expect trial awareness within the general public to continue increase.

Okay, What Does it Mean?

The majority of individuals look to their healthcare providers for information and treatment options about their disease.  Clinical trial awareness among the general population is increasing.  The survey provided detail as to how best bridge these two trends.  It was identified that physicians can improve their consistency and communication with their patients about clinical trials.  And providers in the industry (sponsors, CROs, recruitment, etc.) own the responsibility to provide the healthcare community with the proper educational materials/tools to foster such conversations.

Up next:  Why People Will Participate in Clinical Trials (in their own words)

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