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The Engaged Clinical Trial

Companies increasingly interact with their customers using all sorts of tools from games to social media, but Medidata's Glen de Vries writes at Stat News that pharmaceutical companies haven't gone in that direction. But, he says, they should.

Clinical trials are often the first interaction that a drug company has with its potential consumers, de Vries says. But here, he writes that they often fail to engage with them. Engaged trial participants understand the purpose of the trial and their part in it and are committed to following the protocols and finishing the trial, he adds. Instead, though, he notes that clinical trials have an average dropout rate of 30 percent.

According to de Vries, there are a number of new tools that drug makers can take advantage of to connect with clinical trial participants. For instance, he says activity trackers like FitBit or Jawbone can help drug companies better understand how people are react to the treatment while Apple's CareKit can help companies develop their own apps.

"Pharmaceutical companies needn't completely reinvent the customer engagement experience," de Vries writes. "People are increasingly and habitually using tools such as smartphone apps and activity trackers. The challenge for pharmaceutical companies is to keep up with the pace of digital innovation and understand the way new technologies can be used to reduce the burden that a clinical trial can place on participants."