Harnessing Social Media for Oncology Clinical Trial Recruitment
May 13, 2016
The use of social media has evolved from simply sharing content and updating statuses to a means of redirecting user attention to more urgent issues, including those in the realm of healthcare. A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, titled, “Tapping into Twitter to Help Recruit Cancer Patients into #ClinicalTrials,” reveals how social media is serving as a platform for cancer centers, researchers and even physicians as a way to engage with patients and recruit them for clinical trials.
We’ve seen that there’s a desire among most cancer patients to have a mainstream way to access information and learn about clinical trials that may be suitable for them. Social media serves as a great way for us to reach those patients. Novartis Oncology has made strides to reach prospective clinical trial participants on Twitter by creating the first Twitter handle dedicated to oncology clinical trial recruitments, @NovartisCancrUS. In addition, we’ve created a Facebook page, Novartis Cancer Clinical Trials which contains information on new and ongoing clinical trials in the United States. We’ve also developed an app called Clinical Trial Seek that enables users to find clinical trials based on a subset of more specific criteria such as location, disease type, patient eligibility, and even the phase of the trial and the trial sponsor.
“The potential to harness social media as a tool to streamline information surrounding clinical trials and potentially help in the recruitment process is a fascinating use of channels like Facebook and Twitter that Novartis is currently involved in,” shares Michael Vinegra, Director, Medical eStrategy for the Oncology Business Unit of Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation. “It’s one of the ways in which we’ve really opened up and listened to both patients and caregivers who have been eager for this type of information.”
Michael Vinegra, Director, Medical eStrategy, Novartis
We’re committed to exploring ways in which we can further expand the use of social media for clinical trial recruitment on a global scale. For example, we’re currently looking into how we can utilize our social and digital channels to generate awareness and increase appropriate enrollment in registration trials in several cancers, including breast cancer, lung cancer, and myelofibrosis (MF), a rare, life-threatening blood cancer. This is just one of the many ways that Novartis Oncology keeps innovating for patients.