Clinical trial considerations: Why digital matters...

November 9, 2023

There is no doubt we live in a digital world. We use tech every day of our lives, including when it comes to our health. Wearable devices to track your daily steps, smartphone apps to help you quit smoking, or virtual meetings to attend GP appointments remotely. Digital technology in healthcare is rapidly evolving and enabling new solutions for patients.  

With all this being said, it is no surprise that pharma companies are turning to digital solutions to help improve the patient experience within clinical trials. Virtual study visits make it easier for patients to attend appointments, whilst mobile devices and at-home monitoring systems can help collect real-time data. Here are some of the things that are front of mind when we support our clients navigate new digital strategies for clinical trials.

Device compatibility

Patients are increasingly using mobile devices as their primary source of information. However, HCPs will generally use desktops or laptops in a clinic or office. Make sure to think about who you are creating digital materials for and how content will be accessed and used.

The best user experience for all

How does your content fit with the channel you are using to deliver it? In some instances, simply providing PDF versions of printed materials may be sufficient. But could there be other ways of utilising digital formats to make the content easier to understand or more accessible for patients? Audio, videos or animations are engaging and can help to simplify complex information. Web pages can provide accessibility features, such as a screen reader and size adjustment to help people with visual impairments access the information they need.  

Embracing personalisation

Personal touches help people to feel valued, such as using a participant’s name or understanding their preferences or cultural nuances. Each person’s experience will be different so we should also consider how we can personalise the care that is offered. One way we’ve supported this is through symptom trackers, providing personalised care tips to help each patient deal with their side effects at home. Individualising content helps patients to feel valued, and not just a statistic.

Increasing interactivity

A great way to improve engagement and retention in clinical trials is to increase interactivity. For example, we’ve used appointment reminders, medication notifications, and emails thanking participants for their continued participation. We’ve also been exploring ways to bring in interactivity earlier in the process — be it a QR code on a trial advert or bringing informed consent to life with animations and pop-ups to help explain complex elements.

Encouraging action

Content delivered in digital form can include direct calls to action that motivate patients to find out more or take the first step in joining a trial by reaching out to get in touch. Links can send patients instantly to other relevant content or help them access relevant forms to find out if they are a good candidate to join a trial.


Taking action to improve sustainability is fundamental for the health of the planet. Unfortunately, clinical trials can be big contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, but digitalising trials can help improve their sustainability whilst still keeping patient's needs a priority. At-home tests and assessments, and virtual appointments decrease the need for travel. And providing patients with all the necessary information straight to their mobile phones reduces the need for large print runs and limits potential waste.

At Cuttsy+Cuttsy, we’ve developed materials and tools in all sorts of formats to help deliver successful clinical trials. If you’d like to discuss how digital can complement your next trial programme, let’s talk.

You can read all our latest clinical trials explained blogs here.

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