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If your clinical trial doesn’t have a website, do you even exist?

In a world where pretty much everything and everyone has an online presence, it’s almost unbelievable that not all clinical studies do.

If dogs have their own social media accounts, clinical studies should, at the very least, have their own website. And yet, not all do. And of those that do, the quality of the design and content is pretty poor. So, it’s not surprising that awareness of clinical studies among the general population is so low.

If you consider that 8/10 patients begin their journey to care online and that 43% of patients jump on to the likes of Google and other online search engines to find clinical study information, if your clinical study doesn’t have a website, to this huge proportion of patients, you don’t exist.

Just think about that for a moment. A clinical study can cost billions and take years to bring to fruition. Then suddenly, all that hard work and investment means so very little, because the people who you desperately need to engage with your clinical study don’t even know you exist…

Why should I prioritise the website?

We get it. With so much to organise, plan and develop for a clinical study, dedicating enough time and attention to the study’s website can be difficult. But think of it like this: hitting your participant enrolment target is critical to your clinical study even beginning. And the biggest barriers to recruiting participants are likely to be low awareness, and lack of access to information and understanding of what it’s all about. Now consider that online is where both patients and HCPs will naturally go first to get immediate health information, and you have a simple and effective solution to all of these challenges: a patient and HCP facing website.

Why clinical study websites need to be patient-centric

Now, the easy option would be to shove all the information you have onto a landing page - HCPs and patients can log on and find what they need, right? Wrong. Giving people too much information can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating - a whole new set of barriers to enrolment. The best way to make sure you’re creating something that works for the people it’s intended for, is to take a patient-centric approach. Ask yourself:

How will people find the information?

If you require study participants with type 2 diabetes, your website should be front and centre when someone searches “type 2 diabetes clinical studies”.

How will people feel when they reach the homepage?

A busy design with too much information will be off-putting, whereas a professional clean, simple design presenting key messages will put people at ease.

Is the information easy to navigate?

People will have questions that they want answers to. If the answers are buried deep in the website and difficult to find, it’s pointless even providing it.

Is the information easy to understand?

A website filled with jargon might pass with HCPs, but it certainly won’t be of any use when they direct patients to the site. Plain language that’s concise eliminates any confusion and health literacy barriers.

Can people view the website on their phones?

Mobiles or tablets are the most likely devices that people will use when accessing your website, so if your website isn’t responsive, its users probably won’t be either.

Is your website available in multiple languages?

Diversity and inclusion should be front of mind when building your website, otherwise you’re alienating populations who should be involved in the testing of a treatment that could impact their lives.

Considering a patient or HCP’s journey and experience in getting to and through your website will help you build a platform that address all of their needs.

Engaging with a patient & HCP website specialist

On top of everything else that needs attention when launching a clinical study, a well thought out website is just another thing to add to the list. And if you’re not experienced in that area or familiar with best practices, it can be overwhelming and difficult knowing where to even begin. But outsourcing your website to a specialist can relieve you and your team of the burden.

At COUCH Health, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to creating patient and HCP facing websites. All of our strategic and creative services are not only guided by core principles of developing effective websites, but by deep insights into the users’ needs, journey and experience. Our areas of expertise cover responsive website design and build; user experience strategy and implementation; a patient centric approach to accessibility; health and digital literacy guidance; and copywriting and SEO.

So, if you know that you need a clinical study website, but don’t know where to begin, or have an existing website that needs kicking into shape, just get in touch!

This blog was originally published here: https://www.couchhealth.co/post/if-your-clinical-study-doesn-t-have-a-website-do-you-even-exist

2nd September 2020

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