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D2 Solutions10/16/23 11:21 AM3 min read

How Patient Engagement Technology Can Improve Clinical Trial Outcomes

It’s time to revisit traditional communication approaches to patient participation in pharmaceutical clinical trial research.

Decentralized clinical trials have become increasingly popular due to the increased adoption of technology, providing an effective alternative to the complex and costly traditional method of clinical trial research.

A key barrier, however, is that research sites, such as academic medical centers where a vast majority of clinical trials are conducted, frequently do not incorporate digital patient engagement technology, which can lead to less-than-optimal results for patients and manufacturer sponsors.

In this article, we will explore what digital patient engagement technology is and how its application can enhance patient communications and participation to optimize the outcomes of clinical trial research.


What is Digital Patient Engagement Technology?

Digital patient engagement technology can consist of simple one-way SMS text messaging, mobile apps, web portals, or combining SMS text messaging with responsive web technology that leads to a web-based landing page.

Each of these applications has its pros and cons. However, the combined use of SMS text messaging and responsive web technology offers patient simplicity that supports durable adoption, the ability to incorporate complex protocols, and through intelligent design, branching logic that can help the rigorous demands of clinical trial tracking.


How Technology Keeps Clinical Trials On Track

In a study published on the National Library of Medicine site, clinical trials that used patient-centric technology solutions received high satisfaction and care ratings.

There are many ways technology can reduce the burden and financial barriers and improve engagement of trial participation for patients in today’s clinical trial landscape. Let’s look at a few:

Communication Platforms

Before, during, and after clinical trial participation, patients are expected to comply with stringent protocols that include adherence to lifestyle monitoring, response to the study medication, refraining from certain drugs or supplements, reporting adverse events, and other elements that can impact the clinical trial outcomes.

Patient tracking requirements can be daunting for patients, especially if the tracking mechanism is traditional telephone-based outreaches with required human intervention.

Digital patient engagement technology, particularly the combination of SMS texting and responsive web technology, provides an easy-to-use and cost-effective solution that optimizes researcher-to-patient communication commitments to remain focused on the trial design and outcomes.

Electronic Consent Forms

Electronic consent through an online platform can automate and expedite the enrollment process for patients considering clinical trials. Participants can learn more about the research study’s objectives, risks, benefits, and responsibilities from the comfort of their homes. Online enrollment can cut down the onboarding process and reduce site set-up timelines from months to weeks.

Site Visits & Scheduling

Clinical trial participation can require on-site medication and care monitoring visits, and patient engagement technology can offer the convenience of scheduling through a digital calendar. Digital patient engagement technology can also provide the comfort of at-home monitoring with links to educational or other instructional videos.


The Power of Clinical Trial Patient Engagement

For participants, some trials aren’t life-and-death situations, and their busy schedules might cause them to stray away from the study.

A combination of SMS texting and responsive web technology allows patients to be proactively engaged to stay on track with medication adherence and improve patient-reported outcomes.

With engagement software and remote monitoring wearable devices, data collection can be automatic and doesn’t rely on the participant’s memory of symptoms. Instead, the engagement portal could alert them to check in with their provider or care team and report how they feel if their vitals fall out of a normal range. Reacting to adverse events systematically and promptly creates a safer and better-tracked clinical trial.

Communication software maintains alignment and increases patient input to create successful clinical trials.


Transformative Technology That Can Elevate Clinical Trial Success

With increased recognition and adoption of technology by providers, researchers, and patients, digital patient engagement technology can represent a foundational element to overcome some of the more manageable barriers to clinical trial success.

With typical medication development costs approaching $1B, lengthy development times, and low patient enrollment, digital patient engagement technology can also effectively complement other evolving technologies. Such as telemedicine and wearables that can help collect, track and report the required data elements that can transform the R&D process and drive down costs.

D2 Solutions provides technology-enabling solutions, including digital patient engagement technology currently utilized by many healthcare stakeholders. For more information, visit