Considering the large number of individuals affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD) or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), you might expect fast enrollment into clinical trials. The reality is quite different. Sponsors of clinical trials face several obstacles: 1) Patients are underdiagnosed. 2) Patients have a limited knowledge of clinical trials and some misconceptions. 3) AD/MCI clinical trials are complex, prohibiting participation.
The fastest and easiest solution is to educate people online. However, many of the individuals affected by AD/MCI do not have sophisticated digital media and computer experience. In situations where people have been diagnosed with AD, their children often navigate online for answers. And when it comes to recruiting participants for MCI trials, younger family members might not even be aware that their parent has memory problems. Therefore, although an online presence is necessary and can certainly improve overall awareness and dialogue inside families, it is insufficient to overcome all the obstacles impeding involvement in AD/MCI clinical trials.
At Bioclinica, we have diversified and adapted our engagement strategies to better reach people with AD/MCI, including:
- Developing a large community outreach effort that offers services such as educational seminars, free memory testing, and genetic testing.
- Advertising events in the newspapers, on the radio, or through local AD community actors.
- Giving event participants an opportunity to ask questions of a doctor.
Community events dedicated to providing education on memory loss had the most success. Patient engagement increased when those events were coupled with the opportunity to undergo a memory test or genetic testing. Out of 75 AD/MCI patients screened in clinical trials within one month, 21% originated from community events, 38% from referrals, 21% from our database, and 11% from digital media and online efforts.
Diversity in approach is the key to getting past the obstacles associated with AD/MCI clinical trials. Testing different advertising methods and event formats, foci, and services is crucial to gaining the patient engagement sponsors desire.
Learn more about Bioclinica's capabilities and experience in Alzheimer's disease research and patient engagement.