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You Should Listen in on Patient Conversations

by Melynda Geurts

[pullquote]Social Listening is a Key Tool for Clinical Studies[/pullquote]

Getting feedback from potential clinical trial participants has long been part of research programs undertaken in our industry. The typical modus operandi is to seek out the information from a particular group of people through such means as focus groups. These methods are effective and should be used. As our industry embraces the true sense of patient centricity, we are expanding the methods we use to gain direct feedback. One excellent method is called social listening, and it uses existing technology to our benefit.

Social listening is the strategic monitoring and tracking of conversations on social media, blogs, message boards, and consumer review sites around the globe. This quiet listening technique allows us to experience the raw voice and opinion of the target audience firsthand. It’s a superb and direct way to learn such things as:

• How members of our target group truly feel about their disease
• What they are willing to do to seek treatment to improve their health
• The questions they are asking about trials and what information they are looking for

Social listening doesn’t require a lot of time, plus it can actually speed up our research and remove much of the bias. But it does require an internet/social media savvy person to find the right sources and implement a strategy that will gather the data and put it to use.

Next time you’re getting ready to develop a protocol or seek input on an enrollment support plan, I challenge you to harness the power of social media. Just as much as someone is listening, people are talking. It’s time to engage in social listening.

This is the final blog in our 5-part series on Patient Centricity. Previous blogs in this series are: What Does Patient Centricity Really Mean? Focus Groups for Protocol Design. Patient Engagement: Is there an App for that? and Virtual Clinical Studies.

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