Clinical research plays an essential role in the development of new medical initiatives from understanding patient behaviour through to the testing of life-changing drugs. This research can only be conducted with the participation of patients and clinicians and current levels of participation fall well short of what is required.
Alterline were commissioned by the University Hospital Southampton (UHS) and the Clinical Research Network: Wessex (CRNW) to conduct an extensive programme of research to better understand the perceptions, motivations and barriers to participation in clinical research across the Wessex region. It’s one of the largest studies of its kind and the most comprehensive undertaken in the region. Ultimately the project will shape and inform communications and engagement strategies with the public and clinicians to encourage greater participation.
The research started with a large-scale public survey across the region with over 1100 people followed by in-depth qualitative work with clinicians, patients and members of the public. The principal findings of this unique project were then collated and a series of recommendations for increasing clinical research activity through effective communications and engagement were made.
1. Communications supporting participation in interventional trials should be focused on enabling effective clinical conversations, with a reduced emphasis on broad public awareness approaches.
2. Local Clinical Research Networks, local research infrastructure and Trusts’s senior leadership should support NHS clinicians’ engagement with local clinical trials, and to explore management and education interventions to make communication with patients about trials a part of all NHS consultations.
3. Public communications and engagement should have a greater emphasis on informing and empowering people at the point of care or enquiry, to enable discussion of trials with clinicians.
4. Changes to clinical research delivery to improve convenience and flexibility for participants, alongside interventions that lower the practical threshold to participation should be investigated and evaluated.
The project was recently featured in the British Medical Journal – you can view it here.
Photo credits: Quinn Dombrowski