Patient Engagement: Is There an App for That?

by Melynda Geurts

With patient attrition rates in clinical trials on the rise, retention strategies and tools must be constantly refreshed, refined, and even invented. Truly patient-centric approaches to aid retention are called for. How about a tool that puts the study right in the patient’s hands? Specifically — on their phone?

For an international Alzheimer’s disease study, we were challenged to facilitate engagement and support for study participants as well as their caregivers. Working with the sponsor, we decided to create a convenient and robust study app with pertinent study information and much more. The goal: keep the patient and caregivers engaged, connected, and in compliance.

The video below explains some of the features of the app, which included:

  • Quick and easy access to pertinent study information
  • Visit reminders customized per patient and per visit with time, date, and location, including procedures and how to prepare for the visit
  • Alzheimer’s disease information
  • Healthy living tips
  • Push notifications that integrated with the patient’s smartphone calendar
  • One-touch site contact
  • Stipend payments

Since this was an Alzheimer’s study, more emphasis was given toward the caregivers, who were closely involved with the study and required to accompany the patients to their visits. Caregivers were 40-50 years of age with a higher level of use and understanding about smartphone applications than the patients.

The app and corresponding website were rolled out in local languages to sites in more than 25 countries and it was an immediate success. Utilization among patients and caregivers quickly reached 60 percent, and the retention rate reached 78 percent, well above the sponsor’s goal of 70 percent.

As clinical studies are moving toward a full patient centricity experience, including virtual studies, utilizing a study app is a great step in the right direction of bringing this experience to the forefront.  If you want to increase patient engagement and compliance, there’s an app for that, and Imperial can help!

This is the third blog in our series on Patient Centricity. Read our previous blogs, What Does Patient Centricity Really Mean? and Focus Groups for Protocol Design

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