Social media in clinical trials


Social media has potential in clinical trials for pointing out trial issues, addressing barriers, educating, and engaging multiple groups involved in cancer clinical research. Social media is being used in clinical trials to highlight issues such as poor accrual and barriers; educate potential participants and physicians about clinical trial options; and is a potential indirect or direct method to improve accrual. We are moving from a passive "push" of information to patients to a "pull" of patients requesting information. Patients and advocates are often driving an otherwise reluctant health care system into communication. Online patient communities are creating new information repositories. Potential clinical trial participants are using the Twittersphere and other sources to learn about potential clinical trial options. We are seeing more organized patient-centric and patient-engaged forums with the potential to crowd source to improve clinical trial accrual and design. This is an evolving process that will meet many individual, institutional, and regulatory obstacles as we move forward in a changed research landscape.

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