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Can eLearning improve patient recruitment and retention?

Some patients will still want to read pages of informed consent forms before joining a clinical trial, or want timely updates on paper rather than a notification on their phone. Whereas some would prefer to see a virtual reminder, watch videos, and take online questionnaires. The point is: there needs to be options. And that’s where eLearning comes in.

Let’s face it. When most of the answers to our questions can be found with the click of a button, many are turning to the online world rather than picking up books to find out what they need to know. Learning isn’t just about reading from the paper pages anymore. And that’s ok – because we can use that to our advantage!

But, hold up - we need to remember that people digest information in different ways. Some patients are not turning to the online world. Some patients will still want to read pages of informed consent forms before joining a clinical trial, or want timely updates on paper rather than a notification on their phone. Whereas some would prefer to see a virtual reminder, watch videos, and take online questionnaires. The point is: there needs to be options. And that’s where eLearning comes in.

Put patient centricity into practice with eLearning

So, first up, eLearning doesn’t mean scrapping the paper and taking everything virtual. It’s simply giving those who would prefer to engage with a clinical trial online, the option to do so! And that’s what being patient centric is all about – having your patients needs’ in mind, understanding what can make their experience better, and adapting accordingly.

What’s in it for the patients?

So, aside from eLearning being a patient centric approach to clinical trial recruitment and retention. You might wonder what other benefits eLearning brings to the clinical trial experience. Let’s take a look…

1. Stay informed, stay empowered, stay engaged.

By updating your patients little and often, with digestible, personalised information, this can help your patients to stay informed throughout the clinical trial process. And not only that, but it helps to empower and motivate them. By reminding them when need to complete a task, and why it’s important, microlearning can help your patients to stay informed, empowered and engaged during the clinical trial.

2. The right information, at the right time

Have you ever been given a million things to do at once, and you just don’t know where to start? It can be overwhelming to receive so much information about a clinical trial all at once, such as whether they should take part, how many times they need to take their medication, what days they’ll need to visit the clinic, the list goes on… So instead, eLearning can allow patients to receive each chunk of information at the appropriate time, when an action is needed. That way, it’s more likely be understood and acted upon.

3. A world of information at their fingertips

Instead of pages of paperwork, those who would prefer to learn online can do so at their leisure, by accessing the information on their phone, tablet, laptop, on-the-go and on-demand, with digestible modules. While this makes things a bit more fun and interactive, it also helps the need-to-know information to be more manageable and easier to digest.

4. Make the most of the limited time

Let’s be honest, conversations between healthcare professionals and patients can sometimes be cut short due to busy workloads. And eLearning can definitely help here. With patients being able to access information about their appointments anytime and anywhere, they can keep up-to-date and this could limit some of the questions they have when it comes to face-to-face engagement. Plus, when it does come to the appointments, having supporting materials online that can be easily accessed – such as a video about trial requirements – could really enhance the two-way dialogue and make the most of the time.

So, what do you think? Could eLearning be the patient centric approach you were looking for? At COUCH Health, we have loads of tips for patient recruitment and retention strategies. Find out more, here: https://www.couchhealth.co/whitepaper-patient-engagement

This blog was first published here.

20th October 2020

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