BBK Worldwide, a provider of patient recruitment technology, products and services, has launched Health Info Gizmo, a mobile vehicle used to inform, educate and engage patient audiences about clinical trials, and in the process, foster long-term relationships between advocacy groups and the pharmaceutical industry.
By leveraging the power of collaboration, the Gizmo provides clinical trial sponsors with opportunities to engage and partner with patient advocacy organizations to advance clinical research.
“Advocacy groups are hesitant to assist in the promotion of clinical trials for fear that their involvement may smatter of endorsement of one company or therapeutic direction over another,” said Aaron B. Fleishman, leader of BBK’s social innovation group. “The interesting dilemma is that, more than ever, advocacy groups want to help their constituencies by encouraging awareness of clinical trials.”
This mobile web application provides the platform that, among other attributes, frees advocacy groups to engage in the clinical trial dialogue. Most compelling for these organizations is that the Gizmo’s sole directive is to help patients make informed decisions, not persuade them to consider one option over another.
“If potential study participants are more aware of clinical trials and they can understand how to evaluate them as a potential benefit for not only themselves but potentially their whole disease community through the information gathered from the trial, then everybody wins,” said Blair Van Brunt, executive director of the Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome Foundation. The foundation is a national, nonprofit, patient advocacy organization that supports research towards a cure for Shwachman-Diamond syndrome and efforts to improve medical management of its symptoms.
Within the Gizmo are four user-friendly components highlighting areas of interest most pertinent to someone who is managing a given therapeutic condition. “Speak Out” includes video and podcast interviews of patient advocates—moving excerpts that are designed to humanize the app’s experience for the user. “Get Involved” is a section that promotes health and fundraising events that encourage participation and community spirit. “Learn More” provides a host of resources for users, while “Studies” provides a condition-specific display in real-time that makes finding clinical trials faster and easier.
In addition, the Gizmo provides a fundraising opportunity for local advocacy groups, as BBK has ensured that for each person who downloads the app, a corresponding dollar amount is given to a local advocacy group.
“BBK’s approach is based on years of experience collaborating with advocacy groups and partnering for a shared cause. If you don’t establish trust and goodwill with advocacy groups at the outset, efforts to engage can be perceived as self-serving and fleeting,” said Fleishman.
BBK launched an award-winning program for diabetes, “Calling All Types,” which served as the research pilot for the Gizmo product line.
“Clinical trials was ranked number one by a majority of campaign respondents as the most important consideration for them in responding to BBK’s outreach efforts—way ahead of disease awareness or care guidelines,” said Fleishman.
BBK also deploys the Gizmo on trial-specific promotional campaigns as the company believes that when a patient responds to study advertising, completes a survey and does not prequalify for a specific study, he or she should be provided with alternatives for consideration.