UC Davis Health’s Clinical Studies website, developed to deepen and enhance communication and interaction with the community about research, was recognized for its innovative strategies to foster patient recruitment by the Society for Clinical Research Sites at their annual Site Solutions Summit on Oct. 14.
The site was one of the finalists for the Site Patient Recruitment Innovation Award for its public-private partnership with StudyPages, a clinical research participant recruitment and engagement platform. The initiative also included strong collaborations with the health system’s Clinical and Translational Science Center, Institutional Review Board and the Department of Public Affairs and Marketing.
Looking forward: Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans
Alzheimer’s disease is known as the silent epidemic in the African-American community. It affects blacks twice as often as whites, yet there is limited information about strategies to improve diagnosis and expand treatment options for older African-American adults.
A study listed on the Clinical Studies website hopes to change that by reaching out to potential participants who can learn more and have the opportunity to join the Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s Longitudinal Study for African Americans.
The site provides current information on research studies under way at UC Davis Health in easy to understand language and enables potential participants to sign up and share the information on social media. It also includes a toll-free UC Davis Clinical Trial Helpline with voicemail and a dashboard to help researchers track signups.
“We know that people need to be contacted within 48 hours of expressing interest about a clinical study,” said Courtney Overstreet. “With our platform, study teams are instantly notified when someone signs up so they can connect with potential participants.”
Providing local contact information and enrollment details for large multi-site national studies that include UC Davis is another strong feature that puts potential participants directly in touch with local study leaders.
Consider the national Wisdom study, a major breast cancer screening study for women between the ages of 40 and 74 that aims to enroll 100,000 participants, 2,000 of whom would enroll at UC Davis. The study is assessing recommended mammogram screening schedules and the impact of a personalized risk estimate based on family and health history as well as genetic testing.
“The UC Davis Wisdom StudyPage contains local information that serves as a place to engage with people who are interested in the study but may not be ready to join,” Overstreet said. “This landing page also was used for targeted local outreach campaigns, which added 50 new enrollees in just eight weeks.”
A birth control study promoted through the Clinical Studies website and a Facebook social media campaign has had similar success, recruiting 15 times more participants than half of other national study sites in the last three months.
“The Clinical Studies website meets a real need in the community by connecting people who want to participate in studies with the physicians and scientists who are conducting the leading-edge research,” she said. “With detailed information on nearly 400 studies that are actively recruiting participants, have found a better way to engage with the community and increase awareness of the process that brings new, effective and safe treatments to patients more quickly.”