Healthcare Futures: public perspectives on clinical trials
  • November 8, 2017

Healthcare Futures: public perspectives on clinical trials

Alterline are bringing together a small number of healthcare companies in a collaborative, global research project exploring public perspectives on clinical trials.

Our Healthcare Futures study will conduct primary research with the public, exploring their perceptions and experiences of clinical trials.

Public Perspectives On Clinical TrialsThe evidence will inform both strategic and practical action to improve recruitment and retention in clinical trials, and help demonstrate participating organisations’ commitment to this important issue. We will produce a full internal report for each company, with an accompanying PowerPoint summary and dataset. We will also publish a public report for wider dissemination that will explore the issues and contribute to the wider debate about clinical trials.

Research objectives

The final research objectives will be shaped by participating companies, however we expect the project will explore:

Public Perspectives On Clinical Trials - questions


Combining a literature review, quantitative survey and qualitative online focus groups the research will generate a robust and rich data set that explores themes and differences on a global scale. We expect to cover North and South America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific markets.  The main sample will be comprised of the general public, and there will be options for key condition-specific areas as selected by the projects collaborators. 


Public Perspectives On Clinical Trials - side picDriven by empowered consumers, competitive pressures and modern technologies, healthcare companies are increasingly putting the voice of customers at the heart of what they do. Listening to, and acting on, patient perspectives can help drive innovation, engagement, and success.

For many patients, their involvement in a clinical trial will be their first direct contact with the organisation running it; making a good impression is therefore critical to the company’s reputation in the market. Clinical research is both time consuming and expensive, with some $10 billion dollars spent on clinical trials by biopharmaceutical companies in the United States in 2013 alone1.

However, whilst many members of the public say they are likely to participate in clinical trials, only a small proportion have been asked to take part (Alterline and UHS, 2016). Even if they are asked, known barriers to participation include the perceived risk, low understanding, poor information, and practical obstacles2. Healthcare Futures will seek to offer new, global evidence in this crucial area.


Why a collaboration?

Many of our healthcare clients face similar challenges, inviting common solutions. We have developed our ‘Futures’ research series in recognition of this reality, bringing clients together to work on shared issues. We hope these collaborations will lead to practical action and exciting innovations that contribute to improving the lives of patients.

We will facilitate the coming together of participating companies at the start of the study to help shape the research objectives, and each organisation will have the opportunity to comment on drafts of the surveys and qualitative guides. Most importantly, the group will meet again at the end of the study to discuss the findings and their implications and to formulate ideas for translating the outputs into action.

Outputs and action

The outputs of the Public perspectives on clinical trials project will be:

  • A detailed insights report for your internal use, including a literature review, full analysis of the primary research data and strategic recommendations
  • A PowerPoint summary of the key insights to help you disseminate them within your organisation
  • A public thought paper based on the new evidence, authored independently by Alterline on behalf of participating companies, demonstrating your commitment to this important issue
  • Access to the full raw dataset for further internal exploration.


We are asking each company to contribute £24,500 to the study, and are seeking 3 to 5 partners to take part in the project. This will allow for a breadth of insight and practical learning beyond the reach of a single-organisation study.


For more information on being part of this Public perspectives on clinical trials collaboration or to discuss ideas over a coffee, please contact Ben Hickman, Research Director, Alterline.



  1. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Biopharmaceutical Industry-Sponsored Clinical Trials: Impact on State Economies, 2015.
  2. Alterline, University Hospital Southampton, the University of Southampton. Engaging for increased research participation, 2013.