Home » Featured Content » Action Items » Patient engagement key to improving Alzheimer’s study success rates

Patient engagement key to improving Alzheimer’s study success rates

Friday, December 1, 2017

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, contributing to 60% to 80% of cases. By 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association expects the number of people diagnosed with dementia to increase from 46.8 million to 131.5 million. There is a clear need for continued drug development in this area. 

However, AD trial recruitment is challenging due to medical comorbidities, extensive use of prescribed and OTC medications, behavioral complications of AD and many other factors. To address recruitment challenges, there are a number of tactics researchers can employ to maximize patient engagement. 

We have seen much benefit from the utilization of digital media. Facebook and other channels provide a direct and low-cost way to reach millions of individuals seeking health-related information. By utilizing social media, forums, blogs, etc., and through the clever use of geo-targeted digital media programs, we help researchers promote study awareness, generate study interest and boost referrals.

Engagement and participation in community outreach events has also proven to increase interest and participation in AD clinical trials. For example, researchers can set up “Lunch and Learn” events for clinics, community screenings or other events in partnership with local support and advocacy groups where study information is made available to potential patients and their caregivers. 

At Worldwide, we have found that following attendance at these events, we see an uptick in patient and caregiver interest, physicians that are more likely to actively engage with a study, and patient referrals to investigative sites, all resulting in a return on investment within two to three weeks. 

By harnessing the power of the internet, engaging with the medical and patient communities, and utilizing insights gathered from patients and their caregivers, researchers can better engage with potential participants.


Guest Contributor Barbara Zupancic is currently Director, Global Patient Recruitment Optimization at Worldwide Clinical Trials. Barbara has over 15 years of experience in clinical research, specifically focused on patient recruitment and feasibility. Passionate about engaging patient volunteers to better the lives of many, Barbara has spent countless hours in the field working with various types of research sites and patient groups. Connecting with patients and their families is at the core of any successful patient engagement and recruitment campaign, and Barbara has used her global field experience, coupled with industry know-how and innovations, to optimize recruitment and retention campaigns in most disease states and phases of research. She is joined by her forward-thinking team to move the needle every day and make trials more accessible to patients, less burdensome for sites and more seamless for sponsors. Barbara’s passion is in the rare disease arena, as well as CNS – specifically Alzheimer’s disease. She is a frequent speaker at conferences, has conducted numerous webinars and is a published author. Barbara has a Bachelor of Science in psychology, Master of Science in counseling psychology & research, and an MBA in management. She has lived and worked in Slovenia and Germany for six years.

This article was reprinted from Volume 24, Issue 12, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.com. Subscribe >>

Looking for more news, check out the new FREE CenterWatch Weekly!

The new FREE CenterWatch Weekly is your source of critical news, emerging trends, and business issues around everything in the rapidly changing clinical research marketplace. Check out our new CWWeekly page! Sign up today for your free email newsletter, update your bookmarks and check us out regularly! We look forward to bringing you the best news and information about clinical research in 2018!