Almost three-quarters of patients who completed a recent survey have never been informed of clinical trials by their doctor.
The survey, carried out by Hepatitis C News, an online community managed by Tudor Reilly Health, reveals that the internet is now the key source of clinical trial information for the general public, rivalling advice from healthcare professionals. The survey also reflects the growing appetite for health information online, with 94% of respondents saying that they research the internet for information about their health.
Of those who took part in the survey, just under one-fifth of respondents had taken part in clinical trials. Of these, almost half (49%) had found out about the study online, either through web searches or online advertisements. Just under half of clinical trial participants had found out about studies through their doctor.
One-third of respondents said that they didn’t know enough about clinical trials, suggesting that there is an opportunity to improve awareness and increase trial participation through better patient-focused information, both online and in GP surgeries.
“The internet appears now to have drawn level with doctors as a source of information about clinical research,” said Julie Walters, Managing Director of Tudor Reilly Health. “Patients are increasingly taking ownership of their health and are keen to equip themselves with the information they need. These findings emphasise the need for those conducting trials to consider reaching potential participants through other means.”
The findings of the research were discussed at the Tudor Reilly Health Roundtable, an online webinar which drew guests from the pharmaceutical industry and patient organisations. Panellists included Andrew Langford, Chief Executive at the British Liver Trust; Dr Matthew Foxton, Consultant Hepatologist at London’s Chelsea & Westminster Hospital; Karen Donovan, Principal, Health Business Group; and Andrew Smith, an independent commentator.
About the survey
The survey was conducted in May 2013 with members of the Hepatitis C News online community. A total of 131 individuals from the US, UK, Europe and Australia participated in the survey.
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