Posted by:Ranjani Rao November 19th, 2015

This article was originally recorded by Forte Research Systems, Inc. on 11/03/2015 as part of their clinical research blog. It, as well as other related content, can be viewed at

As a CRO or study site, your biggest challenge is recruiting and retaining patients. There is a number of outreach and recruitment channels, mobile being one of them. In time, mobile will likely be the dominant channel. Here are four key ways a study mobile app can be helpful:

1 .Outreach using Mobile Apps – Mobile apps may be new to the research domain but they are certainly not new to your potential patients.Put yourself in their shoes and give them information in ways that they expect and will respond to.

This can also be extended to your referring physicians.Bring new studies to their attention right away and place the information they need to refer patients at their fingertips.

Evidence of the effectiveness of using mobile as an outreach channel is shown in the graph below:


2. Measure, Analyze, Iterate, Repeat – Mobile analytics allow you to track and determine what messaging resonates most with your audience, thereby providing insight to help you fine tune your message and approach.You can use this data to find patients who viewed your upcoming studies but did not enroll. Using this information, you can follow up with non-responders through messages in your mobile app, hopefully bringing them into the study with a more personal approach. To get the most out of your mobile analytics, its best to follow a process similar to this:

a. Build a funnel to identify, inform and ultimately recruit a participant

b. Implement tracking procedures to proactively follow up with potential recruits

c. Track and follow up with non-responders

3.  Be Patient Centric – Give your patients what they want most – information that is useful to them. This may include the study description, visit schedule, site information and other supporting materials. It could also be a list of support groups or latest findings related to their medical condition – all in one place: the mobile app. Some examples of features that could be included in the app are:

a. Up-to-date study information provided in real time

b. Ability for users to set up their study interests and preference criteria

c. Notifications on upcoming studies (based on criteria above)

d. Ability for users to check their eligibility for a particular study

e. Ability for users to sign up for the study

4. Keep Your Patients Motivated During the Study – This is no small feat, but is key to retaining patients to the end of the study. The study’s mobile app could allow your patients to set up study appointments, and schedule appointment and medication reminders. By setting the reminders, it would not only alert the patient if they missed their appointment, but also give them alternate times to reschedule. Juggling the demands of daily life with the requirements of the study can be hard for patients. Making it easier for them will ultimately make it better for you.

Mobile apps have advanced quickly in the last few years and revolutionized how we do daily activities, ranging from banking to shopping to payments. If you haven’t considered mobile technology, you may want to soon. When it comes to patient recruitment and retention, the lower cost and higher efficiency makes mobile apps a good option for clinical research sites looking to enhance their recruitment strategy.

5. Don’t Forget Study Site Coordinators – The research and study coordinators who run studies, manage visits and interface with patients need to track and manage multiple patients, studies and tasks.

A mobile app can give data at their fingertips – data about whether a study has enrolled enough patients, which patients have missed their appointments, reschedule requests and any updates on the study itself.  Study coordinators can plan and manage studies more effectively with this data presented on demand

Mobile apps have come a long way and revolutionized how we do things ranging from banking to shopping to payments.

This is the right time for research organizations to take the step to go mobile and reap the benefits of lower costs (less print and media advertising for example), higher efficiency and most importantly reaching out to patients in a way that they have come to expect.

To learn more on how mobile apps can help attract, enroll, engage and retain participants and to access a handy checklist of steps to be taken by sponsors, CROs and site coordinators, check out this infographic!

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