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Improve clinical trials through patient journey mapping

Could patient journey mapping be your solution to improving clinical study recruitment and retention? While awareness of clinical studies is low across the population, it’s not the only issue. It’s time to look at the finer details and start improving every stage of the patient journey.

Have you ever really wanted to do something, or go somewhere, but the process of actually doing it is so complex that it just doesn’t seem worth it in the end? Yep. That could be how your patients are feeling.

Your patients might fully intend on joining a clinical study, but the process of even getting through the recruitment stage can make the idea of participating just not seem worthwhile. And we need to do something about it. Imagine this: a patient has heard about a clinical study that could potentially improve their life. They’re not 100% sure about taking part, but they’d like more information, so they…

  • Look online – but they can only seem to find information on clinicaltrials.gov for more information, which only provides a complex, science-heavy explanation with really bad UX
  • Find the clinical study website – the information is more understandable, but often doesn’t have contact details for more information, only the research site and postcode
  • Make a call – but end up communicating with call centres with inexperienced people, or people who are not from a medical background
  • Send an email – but the investigator working on the clinical study is too busy, so they get a delayed/no response

It’s time to make a change. During the last 10 years, clinical study designs and procedures have become increasingly complicated, not only demanding more staff time and effort, but unintentionally discouraging patient enrolment and retention. We get it, the clinical study process is complex, but it doesn’t have to be that way for patients.

So, what can we do about it?

Recognising that each participant has their own journey can have a huge influence on their experience, and consequently affect how likely they are to take part – or continue taking part – in a clinical study. And that’s where patient journey mapping comes in.

You might ask, “what exactly is patient journey mapping?” Well, it’s an exercise that allows you to better understand your patients experiences throughout their care journey. That means understanding every. single. step. of their journey – from initial diagnosis, to coming to terms with their treatment options, to the clinical study recruitment stage, to participating in the study, to clinical study completion, all the way to the follow-up process. How do things change from one stage to the next? Not just in terms of their clinical experience, but their psychological experience and emotional journey too? It’s important to understand these changes to identify the best way to engage and interact with your patients, and ultimately making things easier for them.

Consider a process mapping tool

Using process mapping tools and workshops enables everyone involved in the clinical study to see the overall picture. Looking at it this way allows everyone to understand exactly how complicated the journey can be for patients. And while this might be overwhelming at first, by breaking the process down into the different stages – you can identify opportunities where things can improve. Ask questions, such as “where are the longest delays occurring?” and “are there things that are done more than once?” This way, you can make corrections, improvements and avoid any unnecessary steps to make the patient journey easier.

There’s no better time than now to make a change

Patient journey mapping, especially when done earlier on in the clinical study planning stages, can improve your patients’ experiences and ultimately improve clinical study outcomes. If you’re looking for support to help map your patient journey, take a look at this handy checklist that we’ve put together to help.

Blog was originally published here.

22nd September 2020

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